If you followed the yellow brick road on Tuesday 22 May, you will have encountered a brand new Wizard in The London Palladium’s Oz.
The Strictly Come Dancing heart-winner, Russell Grant’s 12-week stint as The Wizard has sadly ended. But fear not new audiences of The Wizard of Oz… for the legendary Des O’Connor is set to take over the iconic Wizard role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz tale – the final season of the play at the Palladium.
Des has made an incredible 1,200+ solo appearances at The London Palladium already in his career, so he is no stranger to treading those boards – but this is the first time he is appearing there in a stage musical.
He was awarded a CBE in 2008 for his services to entertainment and broadcasting and is a much-loved star of all stage, screen and music. So no wonder so many fans are awaiting his Wizardry performance. And Des O’Connor fans are in for a serious treat through the final season, as not only is he playing the title role as The Wizard, but O’Connor will be moonlighting as ‘Professor Marvel’ – a character for whom a new song has been written called ‘The Wonders of the World’, which is just one of the new songs that Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have created for their TWOZ adaptation.
Further characters are: Edward Baker-Duly as the Tin Man; Martin Callaghan as the Lion; Paul Keating as the Scarecrow; Emily Tierney as Glinda; and Marianne Benedict as The Wicked Witch of the West.
Jeremy Sams if directing L Frank Baum’s ‘Oz’; Arlene Phillips is choreographer; music and lyrics come from Harold Arlen and E Y Hamburg as well as the azdditional music and lyrics from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice; the set and costume designs come from Robert Jones, while ultimate production is Bill Kenwright and ‘The Really Useful Group’.