The first pair of names following the Yellow Brick Road to The London Palladium has been revealed.
Comedian and performer Jason Manford (Curtains, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) will play The Cowardly Lion in the West End run of Nikolai Foster’s production of The Wizard of Oz, while Diversity star Ashley Banjo will make his West End musical debut as The Tin Man. Banjo is no stranger to the Palladium following his multiple appearances in the venue’s pantomime.
Featuring numbers from the iconic original score by Harold Arlen and E Y Hardburg, including “Over The Rainbow”, “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” and “We’re Off To See the Wizard”, the piece also has additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
It received a glowing review from WhatsOnStage, being described as “sheer theatrical wizardry and far too good to miss.”
Directed by Nikolai Foster (Billy Elliot The Musical, A Chorus Line), The Wizard of Oz has choreography by Shay Barclay, set design by Colin Richmond, projection design by Douglas O’Connell, costume and puppet designer by Rachael Canning, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Adam Fisher, creative consultancy by Mark Kaufman, musical direction and supervision by George Dyer, casting by Kay Magson, props supervision by Marcus Hall Props, and wigs, hair and make-up design by Elizabeth Marini.
Performances for the show begin on 23 June, with “further star casting to be announced soon”, according to the production.
The production will also embark on a major tour at the end of the year, as revealed earlier this week.