Russell Grant in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium
Well Known Astrologer Cast as The Wizard from February, Replacing Michael Crawford in the Role
It has been revealed that Michael Crawford will be stepping down from the role of the Wizard in “The Wizard Of Oz” at the beginning of February and so those with theatre tickets will instead witness the astrologer Russell Grant in the part. At the same time, Sophie Evans – who has portrayed the role of Dorothy on Tuesdays up to now – will be taking over in the lead full time as Danielle Hope leaves the production. Evans was the runner up to Hope’s win in the television show “Over The Rainbow”.
Russell Grant is an astrologer who has appeared on countless television programmes over the years, having first emerged in 1979 and made a name for himself in the 1980s. He made regular appearances on shows like “This Morning” and “Russell Grant’s Postcards”, whilst recent years have seen him appear in the likes of “Kitchen Burnout”, “Celebrity Fit Club” and, perhaps most notably, “Strictly Come Dancing”. So he is a familiar face and is certain to be recognisable for London theatre audiences during his 12-week season from February (which takes him to Sunday 6th May 2012).
“The Wizard of Oz” is, of course, the well known story of Dorothy, her dog Toto, and her adventure in the Land of Oz, which was first told in L Frank Baum’s famous novel from the turn of the 20th century. Dorothy is a Kansas farm girl who is transported to this colourful world on the back of a ferocious tornado, killing the Wicked Witch of the East in the process and, as a result, making an enemy of the Wicked Witch of the West. She soon learns of the Wizard of Oz, who can help her return to Kansas and so she sets off on the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City with the help of some new friends.
The production opened its doors at the London Palladium last March following the BBC television series “Over the Rainbow”, which sought to discover a new star to play the role of Dorothy. Danielle Hope won the competition and has been portraying the part since it opened, standing aside on Tuesdays for runner-up Sophie Evans to take to the stage.
Hope and Crawford step down on Sunday 5th February 2012, with the new casting changes taking effect on Tuesday 14th February 2012. “The Wizard of Oz” is currently booking at the London Palladium until Sunday 28th October 2012.