An exclusive deal has been struck between the Producers and the Sun and News of the World newspapers whose readers have been given advance access to tickets, ranging from £25 to £62.50. Public booking is due to open on 9 May 2010.
A little history… 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 starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. The stage musical version was adapted by John Kane from the Warner Bros movie and was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican in 1987 with Dorothy played by a young Imelda Staunton. It has music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and EY Harburg.
The Wizard of Oz last had a major London outing at the Royal Festival Hall in Summer 2008 when Sian Brooke played Dorothy in a cast that also featured Adam Cooper, Roy Hudd and Gary Wilmot.
The new musical version will star the winner of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC One competition Over the Rainbow. It follows the formula of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything – all which found Connie Fisher for The Sound of Music, Lee Mead for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Jodie Prenger for Oliver! Over the Rainbow has been searching for Dorothy (and Toto) for The Wizard of Oz since 26 March and is due to crown the winner the end of May. The judging panel consists of John Partridge, Charlotte Church and Sheila Hancock (whose own current show, Sister Act, will close at the London Palladium on 1 January 2011 to make way for The Wizard of Oz).
No further casting or creative details for The Wizard of Oz Musical have been announced to date. It is expected to be directed by The Sound of Music’s Jeremy Sams and choreographed by Arlene Phillips with some new songs specially written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater.