The Wizard of Oz - Des O'Connor joins cast
ON MAY 22, 2012, Des O’Connor will take over from Russell Grant as The Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz. He will stay with the production until it completes its run at the London Palladium on September 2, 2012.
Sophie Evans, runner up in BBC’s Over the Rainbow, will continue in the role of Dorothy.
Since 1963, when he first appeared on television, Des O’Connor has starred in a mainstream TV show almost every year. His most recent work includes the Des O’Connor Tonight specials, the award-winning ITV talk show Today with Des and Mel and his interview last year on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.
He is also a hugely successful music and recording artist, having produced no less than 36 albums, selling over 16 million copies to date, and spending 117 weeks in the top ten of the charts. Hits include I Pretend, 1-2-3 O’Leary, Dick-A-Dum Dum, Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By and Three Times A Lady.
On stage, he has appeared at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, The Sydney Opera House and over 1,000 times at the London Palladium. Last year, he made his West End musical theatre debut playing Older Bobby and Phil (Bobby’s Dad) in Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre. In 2008, he was awarded the CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting.
The Wizard of Oz is the story of Dorothy’s epic adventures through the Land of Oz to meet the Wizard. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow who needs a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, a cowardly Lion who desperately needs some courage, and the Wicked Witch of the West.
In 1903, L. Frank Baum adapted his 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, for stage. And in 1939, it was filmed by Hollywood and starred a young Judy Garland as Dorothy. It also included the timeless classic Over the Rainbow. And in summer 2008, a musical version starring Adam Cooper, Gary Wilmot, Roy Hudd and Siân Brooke, was performed at the Royal Festival Hall.