Sunday, January 16

Michael Crawford on creating his Wizard of Oz

Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s latest musical The Wizard of Oz is well into rehearsal and due to open at the London Palladium on 1st March (previews start on 7th February).  He is transforming the theatre into the Emerald City and it certainly promises to be a spectacular production with a very strong cast led by West End star Michael Crawford in what is a small role compared to those of  Barnum and The Phantom.

In an interview in the Sunday Mail Crawford says that when he was offered the part the role intrigued him because the Wizard appears in so many guises as a doorman, carriage-driver and the fortune-telling Professor Marvel.  Each of them morphs out of the Wizard's character during fantasy sequences with their own distinct personality. In his inimitable style he has made the parts his own with the carriage-driver as a spiv, the doorman brass buttons and white gloves efficiency, Professor Marvel is a dear old fellow and the Wizard himself is all sorts of marvellous things.

Crawford says he will need to be on top form because the songs are demanding. Andrew and Tim Rice have got together again after 30 years to reunited to write a great song for Professor Marvel about the wonders of the world, which he says he is looking forward to performing but because Tim's lyrics are clever they can be difficult to learn. Apparently he has them written on a piece of paper that I carries everywhere so that he can rehears at every opportunity, being  both terrified and exhilarated by the challenge.

Crawford says that his Wizard is just a little bit more physical than the one in the 1939 film because he wants to play characters who express their personalities through physical quirks.

I heave heard some amazing things about this production from friends working on the show and am really looking forward to it.

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