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Waddingham Heads for Oz, Evans Wicked Fiyero

Casting has today (25 November 2010) been announced for Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz with Hannah Waddingham, Edward Baker-Duly, David Ganly, Paul Keating and Emily Tierney joining Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy and previously announced Michael Crawford as the Wizard. The show, which opens at the London Palladium on 1 March 2011, begins previews on 7 February.

As previously tipped, Hannah Waddingham, whose recent stage credits have included Olivier Award-nominated performances in Spamalot and A Little Night Music, will play the Wicked Witch of the West. The role follows her spell as The Witch in the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park's revival of Sondheim's Into the Woods this summer.

Waddingham's extensive credits also include Bad Girls The Musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and A Chorus of Disapproval for Theatr Clywd. Her previous work with Andrew Lloyd Webber includes The Likes of Us at the Sydmonton Festival, The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre and Lautrec at the Shaftesbury.

Also twice Olivier Award-nominated Paul Keating will play the Scarecrow. His recent stage work includes the title role in Tommy at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Tick... Tick... BOOM! at the Duchess Theatre and the lead in The Little Shop of Horrors at Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.

Edward Baker-Duly whose recent West End credits include Trevor Nunn's Gone With The Wind, West Side Story at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Rookery Nook at the Menier plays the Tin Man, alongside David Ganly as the Cowardly Lion. Ganly was last seen on stage in the Young Vic's The Beauty Queen of Leenane, with previous roles including Amos in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre, The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Peter Hall’s production of Uncle Vanya for English Touring Theatre.

Emily Tierney whose recent credits include All The Fun Of The Fair at the Garrick and the BBC's crime comedy New Tricks takes on the role of Glinda, The Good Witch. She also makes the move from one Oz-themed musical to another, having previously covered the role of Nessarose in Wicked.

The newly announced cast join the winner of BBC's search for Dorothy, Over the Rainbow Danielle Hope and The Phantom of the Opera star Michael Crawford whose involvement in the production was announced at a press event in September.

The show is helmed by creative team team behind Lloyd Webber’s Whatsonstage.com Award-winning revival of The Sound of Music; director Jeremy Sams, designer Robert Jones and choreographer Arlene Phillips. The original musical was created by Harold Arlen and EY Harburg, with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice reunited to write additional music and lyrics for the Palladium production.

L Frank Baum wrote the first 1903 stage version of his 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 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 musical had its last major London outing at the Royal Festival Hall in summer 2008.

Danielle Hope alternates in role of Dorothy, with Over the Rainbow runner-up Sophie Evans, who will perform on Tuesday evenings and during Hope's holidays.

In other wizardly casting news, it was today announced that Mark Evans will replace Lee Mead as Fiyero in Wicked from 7 February 2011. Evans, who was a finalist in the BBC's search for a Eurovision star, Your Country Needs You and has recently led the UK tour of Oklahoma! with Marti Webb, will join Rachel Tucker and Louise Dearman who continue as Elphaba and Glinda respectively.

Evans' other West End credits include Troy Bolton in High School Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo and Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, as well as a previous stint in the Wicked ensemble in 2007 where he covered Fiyero.

Wicked, which welcomed its three-millionth theatregoer at the evening performance on 4 August 2010 and is now entering its fifth year on the West End, was last year's Whatsonstage.com Award winner in the new category for long-runners, Best West End Show.

The current London company is made up of Rachel Tucker as the green-skinned Elphaba and Louise Dearman as Glinda, Julie Legrand as Madame Morrible, Clive Carter as The Wizard and Julian Forsyth Dr Dillamond.


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