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Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE WIZARD OF OZ in US Television Casting Talks; Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour Coming

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Talking to the UK Telegraph, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber tells the paper that The Wizard of Oz, which opens in February 2011 in London (and already has a $13+ million dollar advance) will play America next, with talks underway to do a television casting show for Dorothy as he's done in the UK. 

Webber says "A couple of the networks in the US have wanted to build something around what I do on TV, and I think with Oz something is definitely going to happen there. The X Factor juggernaut is going to be huge there next year but other networks are looking for something to go against it. Once we've found a Dorothy in the US, my instinct is to open the show in Kansas [Dorothy's home]."

He also tells the paper that "Early next year, he intends to begin work on perhaps his most ambitious revival to date: a blockbuster world arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, the 1970 rock opera written with Sir Tim Rice. The composer wants the work "to go back to its rock roots". "I will know in about February if it's going to happen, so as regards television, I'm hors de combat really," he said. "Every major artist I've spoken to has said they want to be in it. I'm not going to name names, but I'm getting demo tapes from some of the top artists in the world. It's extraordinary. We want to play 200 arenas in America and they are planning the route for the US tour already. Then, hopefully, there will be a world tour, going through the O2 in England. I'm very excited about it.""

Edward Baker-Duly (Tin Man), David Ganly (Lion), Paul Keating(Scarecrow), EMILY TIERNEY (Glinda) and Hannah Waddingham(Wicked Witch of the West) have joined Michael Crawford and Danielle Hope in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ, opening at The London Palladium in February 2011.

The Wizard of Oz promises to be the biggest theatre event of the year, combining all the much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, marking the first time they have worked together in over 30 years on a new production.

Edward Baker-Duly will play the Tin Man, the iconic character who longs for a heart. Edward's West End theatre credits include Gone With The Wind (New London Theatre), Salad Days (Vaudeville Theatre and UK Tour) and West Side Story (Prince of Wales Theatre and UK Tour), as well as Rookery Nook (Menier Chocolate Factory).

He will be joined by David Ganly as the Cowardly Lion. David's past theatre credits include the role of Amos in Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), The Full Monty (Prince of Wales Theatre), Peter Hall's production of Uncle Vanya for English Touring Theatre, Doctor Doolittle (UK tour) and The Lonesome West (Lyceum Theatre and Broadway). He was last seen on stage in London in Joe HillGibbins' production The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Young Vic.

Two-time Olivier Award nominee Paul Keating will play the Scarecrow - who would while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers...if he only had a brain. Paul's work in theatre includes the title role in Tommy (Shaftesbury Theatre), Blowing Whistles (Leicester Square Theatre), Tick... Tick... BOOM! (Duchess Theatre), and the lead role of Seymour in Olivier Award-nominated production of The Little Shop of Horrors at Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.

EMILY TIERNEY takes on the role of Glinda, The Good Witch and most powerful sorceress of Oz. Emily's stage credits include All The Fun Of The Fair (Garrick) and Wicked (Apollo) and for TV, New Tricks on BBC.

Hannah Waddingham will create the role of The Wicked Witch of the West on stage. Her extensive work in the theatre includes the role of Desiree in A Little Night Music (Garrick Theatre and Menier Chocolate Factory), The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (a role she originated in the West End, and played on Broadway), Into The Woods (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Bad Girls The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse), A Chorus of Disapproval (Theatr Clywd), Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Likes of Us (Sydmonton Festival), The Beautiful Game (Cambridge Theatre) and Lautrec (Shaftesbury Theatre). She has been twice nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical (in 2007 for Spamalot and in 2010 for A Little Night Music). Her television credits include My Hero, William and Mary, Coupling and Footballers' Wives.

Developed from the ever-popular 1939 MGM screenplay, The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage by the award-winning creative team who delighted audiences of all ages with their recent London Palladium revival of The Sound of Music. Audiences will be captivated as The London Palladium is transformed into the mythical Emerald City with breathtaking special effects and scenery to bring to life the real story of Oz.

Starring Michael Crawford and Danielle Hope, the winner of the BBC smash hit talent show Over The Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz previews from Monday 7th February 2011 (Press Night: Tuesday 1st March at 7pm).

Michael Crawford, who takes on the eponymous role of The Wizard, is internationally-renowned for originating the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and loved by millions for his role as the hapless Frank Spencer in the classic British sitcom, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. His hugely successful career spans four decades, and includes his triumphant performance in the hit show Barnum at the London Palladium and the role of Count Fosco in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White. He is a multi Olivier and Tony-award winning star whose acclaim encompasses theatre, television and film and he was appointed an OBE in 1988.

Danielle Hope captured the hearts of the country and will now step into the ruby slippers of Dorothy, the role immortalised by Judy Garland.

The London Palladium, arguably the world's most famous theatre and this year celebrating its 100th birthday, is a great favourite with performers and audiences alike and has a very rich entertainment history presenting variety, pantomime and spectacular family musicals. Just one aspect of the elaborate stage design for The Wizard of Oz will be a restoration of the legendary revolving stage which everyone remembers from the finale of Television's Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum is directed by Jeremy Sams, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice with the set and costumes designed by Robert Jones. produced byAndrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright.

Tickets are available from The London Palladium Box Office on 0844 412 2957 or online from
www.wizardofozthemusical.com


 



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