Monday, December 27

Latest News on The Wizard of Oz

As the London Palladium continues its transformation into the Emerald City for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of the Wizard of Oz, the Lord reports that “Rehearsals are going well. Danielle Hope is incredibly hard-working and she has developed a great relationship with Michael Crawford. She is getting the work experience of a lifetime by working with one of the greatest musical theatre performers we have ever had.”

Lord Lloyd Webber told the Telegraph "The most exciting thing about this production is to see if we can make it work for the first time in the theatre properly because it's never really translated on stage before.”

He has co-written four new songs with Tim Rice because there wasn’t anything for either of the witches or the wizard (played by Hannah Waddingham, Emily Tierney and Michael Crawford). There is a slightly longer opening sequence and the ending is truer to the book where Oz is a real place and not a dream as in the Judy Garland film.

The Wizard of Oz begins previewing in February next year and opens on 1st March with £8.5 million already taken in advance ticket sales. There is an extended preview period from 7th-28th February to get the musical's tornado scene right as it requires the theatre's double revolving stage to be reinstalled. Anyone who used to watch the 1960s television programme Sunday Night at the London Palladium will remember this revolve the performers going round and waving at the end of the show.

By the time The Wizard of Oz opens the Palladium will have undergone its biggest revamp since it opened in 1910 utilising huge spaces that had been boarded up and forgotten since the Second World War.  Lloyd Webber says: "There was a carpenter's workshop that had been boarded up for 70 years and was like a time capsule when we found it. A lot of our staff have worked here for 50 years and had no idea it was there. We had a box office that was designed for selling two thousand tickets in 10 minutes, but you don't need that any more. We found a storeroom full of old ticket stubs, with a beautiful ceiling that had been covered over with plasterboard.”  The old rooms will be used to extend the bars, provide new entrances and more lavatories.


Anonymous said...

Danielle Lloyd?! Don't they mean Danielle Hope? :)

Theatre Spy said...

They certainly do unless there's been a cast change we don't know about! My version amended accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out.

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