|Russell Grant competing in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing|
Russell Grant takes over from Michael Crawford as Wizard of Oz
Date: 23 January 2012
Russell Grant, recent star of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, will take over from Michael Crawford as The Wizard in the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz, playing a limited 12-week season from 14 February 2012.
The news comes shortly after Whatsonstage.com reported that Over the Rainbow runner-up Sophie Evans will take over full time from the reality casting competition's winner Danielle Hope from 7 February 2012. Evans has been covering Hope's holidays and Tuesday evening performances since the show opened on 1 March (previews from 7 February 2011).
Both Danielle Hope and Michael Crawford play their final performances in The Wizard of Oz on 5 February 2012.
Starting his career as an actor, Russell Grant came to prominence as a TV astrologer in the 1980's and '90's. He recently competed in the ninth series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, surviving until the show's eight with dance partner Flavia Cacace.
Grant, who joins the show on 14 February 2012, will appear alongside Edward Baker-Duly as Tin Man, Martin Callaghan as Lion, Paul Keating as Scarecrow, Emily Tierney as Glinda and Marianne Benedict as the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Wizard of Oz is currently nominated in four categories at this year's Whatsonstage.com Awards, including Best Musical Revival and Best Set Designer. Hannah Waddingham, who originated the role of the Wicked Witch of the West at the Palladium is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical whilst Danielle Hope is nominated in the London Newcomer of the Year category.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz, which opened at the Palladium on 1 March 2011 (previews from February 2011), is directed by Jeremy Sams and choreographed by Arlene Phillips.
Danielle Hope is currently starring as Dorothy alongside Michael Crawford as the Wizard. Crawford will also play his final performance on 5 February with rumours recent Strictly Come Dancing contestant Russell Grant as a possible replacement.
Combining the much-loved songs from the 1939 Oscar-winning film with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, The Wizard of Oz is currently booking until 28 October 2012.
- by Andrew Girvan
|Des O'Connor confirmed as Wizard of Oz, show finishes in September - 9th May 2012 news|
|O'Connor last wizard? Kenwright's Love Never Dies tours Jan? - 2nd May 2012 gossip|
|Tim Rice to be honoured with Special Award at Oliviers - 16th Mar 2012 news|
|Danielle Hope is new Les Mis Eponine, Tam Mutu plays Javert - 9th Mar 2012 news|
|Sophie Evans takes over from Danielle Hope in Wizard of Oz from 7 Feb - 20th Jan 2012 news|
|Photos: Andrew Lloyd Webber's reality casting recruits - 18th Jan 2012 photos|
|Musicals Extend: Wizard, Mamma Mia! & Thriller Live - 4th Oct 2011 news|
|Cast: Tucker & Crawford Extend, Full CFT Sweeney - 2nd Aug 2011 news|
|Cats Prowls Back to West End in 2013, Oz Tour??? - 28th Jun 2011 gossip|
|WOS TV: Up Close With ... The Wizard of Oz's Danielle Hope - 6th Jun 2011 interviews|
|Photos: Evans Wears Ruby Slippers, Oz Extends - 4th May 2011 photos|
|Galas: Toto Winner in Wizard, Caird's Challenge - 19th Apr 2011 news|
|Review Round-up: Are Critics Friends of Dorothy? - 2nd Mar 2011 roundup|
|The Wizard of Oz - 2nd Mar 2011 reviews|
|1st Night Photos: Caine & Co Off to Meet Wizard - 2nd Mar 2011 photos|
|Show Pics: Hope & Crawford in the Emerald City - 1st Mar 2011 photos|
|Opening: Million Dollar, Wizard of Oz & Sapphires - 28th Feb 2011 news|
|Waddingham Heads for Oz, Evans Wicked Fiyero - 25th Nov 2010 news|
|Palladium Marks Centenary, Renovations & Tours - 12th Oct 2010 news|
|Hannah Waddingham Casts Another Spell in Oz??? - 27th Sep 2010 gossip|
|Michael Crawford Returns to Stage as Wizard - 24th Sep 2010 news|
|Vote in WOS Poll: Next Musical for TV Casting? - 17th Jun 2010 news|
|Tim Rice Follows Yellow Brick Road to Oz??? - 25th May 2010 gossip|
|End of the Rainbow for Lloyd Webber & BBC??? - 25th May 2010 gossip|
|Danielle Wins Ruby Slippers in Rainbow Finale - 24th May 2010 news|
|Top Ten TV Contestants & Where to Find Them - 18th May 2010 features|
|Ex-Dorothy Steph Set Sights on Sister Act??? - 18th May 2010 gossip|
|Final Three Dorothys Named in Rainbow Contest - 17th May 2010 news|
|Public Booking Opens for Wizard with New Songs - 7th May 2010 news|
|TV-cast Wizard of Oz Moves into Palladium, 1 Mar - 28th Apr 2010 news|
|Ten Dorothys & Wild Card Battle Over the Rainbow - 29th Mar 2010 news|
|Lloyd Webber Searches for TV Dorothy from 26 Mar - 12th Mar 2010 news|
|Church & Hancock Improve BBC Rainbow Expertise??? - 19th Feb 2010 gossip|
|Can Lloyd Webber Find a Dorothy with 'Attitude'??? - 14th Jan 2010 gossip|
|Want to Go Over the Rainbow with the BBC??? - 17th Nov 2009 gossip|
|BBC & Lloyd Webber Cast West End Wizard of Oz - 11th Sep 2009 news|
|Lloyd Webber Cancels Oz TV Casting Show??? - 20th Jul 2009 gossip|
|Lloyd Webber & Slater Pen New Songs for Oz??? - 3rd Apr 2009 gossip|
|Cast your vote in the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards|