Tickets officially go on sale tomorrow (Saturday 8 May 2010) for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s forthcoming revival of The Wizard of Oz. As previously reported, the production, which will star the winner of his current BBC One competition Over the Rainbow, will start performances on 7 February 2011 at the West End’s London Palladium, with press night on 1 March.
The musical, best known from the 1939 Hollywood film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, is being “totally reconceived” and will include new songs written by Lloyd Webber especially for it to add “extra colour to the story as it moves from film to stage”.
It’s also been confirmed that the production, featuring “breathtaking special effects” and “a few surprises along the way”, will be helmed by the same creative team behind Lloyd Webber’s Whatsonstage.com Award-winning revival of The Sound of Music starring his first reality TV winner Connie Fisher – director Jeremy Sams, designer Robert Jones and choreographer Arlene Phillips.
For The Wizard of Oz, the 2,300-seat Palladium, owned by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, will be “transformed into the mythical Emerald City”, with an “elaborate stage design” which will include the restoration of the listed theatre’s revolving stage, once a key feature in the televised Sunday Night at the London Palladium programme.
In a statement today, Lloyd Webber said: “We are incredibly excited to be adapting The Wizard of Oz for the stage and re-telling this all-time classic family story. I have long been a huge fan of the original movie, the songs and characters and am really looking forward to bringing it to life again.”
L Frank Baum wrote the first 1903 stage version of his 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The story is best known from the 1939 Hollywood film. The stage musical version, adapted by John Kane from the Warner Bros movie, was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican in 1987, with a young Imelda Staunton as Dorothy. The Wizard of Oz has music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and EY Harburg and last had a major London outing at the Royal Festival Hall in summer 2008.
Following the formula of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything - which found Connie Fisher, Lee Mead and Jodie Prenger for West End productions of The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Oliver! - Over the Rainbow has been searching for Dorothy (and Toto) for The Wizard of Oz since 26 March. Tickets for The Wizard of Oz range from £25 to £62.50. Public booking follows an exclusive advance booking period for readers of the News of the World and Sun newspapers.