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1st Night Photos: We’re Off to See the RFH Wizard

By • West End
Move over Wicked. The Wizard of Oz returned to the London stage last night (29 July 2008, previews from 23 July) for the first time since the original 1987 production of the screen-to-stager. The Southbank Centre revival runs for a limited summer season to 31 August 2008 at the Royal Festival Hall (See News, 26 Mar 2008).

Leading the 50-strong cast of Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly’s new production, Sian Brooke’s steps into Judy Garland’s ruby slippers as Dorothy, starring alongside former Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper as the Tin Man, Gary Wilmot as the Cowardly Lion, Hilton McRae as the Scarecrow, Roy Hudd as the Wizard and Julie Legrand as the Wicked Witch of the West. Toto – who nearly steals the show – is played by a West Highland terrier named Bobby.

L Frank Baum himself 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 starring a 16-year-old Judy Garland. This musical version, adapted by John Kane from the Warner Bros movie and with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and EY Harburg, was premiered in 1987 by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican (where it was revived in 1988 before transferring to Stratford in 1989), with a young Imelda Staunton as Dorothy. This is the first major London production since then.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE WIZARD OF OZ\'s 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE \"NEXT >\" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call at the Royal Festival Hall and at the post-show party at Las Iguanas along with the cast, director and other first-night guests.

Director Jude Kelly previously helmed a 2002 revival of the musical at Leeds’ West Yorkshire Playhouse, where she was then artistic director. The Wizard of Oz is designed by Michael Vale, with musical direction by Jonathan Gill, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Mike Gunning and visual installation by Huntley Muir.

- by Terri Paddock


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