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Jason Manford & Ashley Banjo to Star in The Wizard of Oz

Michael Harrison and the Really Useful Group are thrilled to announce that Jason Manford and Ashley Banjo will star in The Wizard of Oz, the musical based on the iconic story by L. Frank Baum, which plays a strictly limited season at the world-famous London Palladium this summer.

Jason Manford Michael Harrison, the producer of the smash-hit Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, presents Curve’s brand-new production of one of the world’s most beloved musicals, beginning performances on Friday 23 June (Press Night: Thursday 6 July).

Jason Manford, who is a multi-award-winning stand-up Comedian, Actor, Singer, Writer, Radio and Television Presenter, will play The Cowardly Lion.

Well known for his critically acclaimed live stand-up tours, Jason also has musical theatre credits that include Signor Pirelli in the Olivier-winning production of Sweeney Todd alongside Imelda Staunton & Michael Ball in 2012, Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’ The Producers across a UK-wide tour and as Caractacus Potts in the family musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. After a short run as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls at the Royal Albert Hall, Jason also starred as Detective Frank Cioffi in the Kander & Ebb musical, Curtains.

Jason has been the regular host of the Olivier Awards for the past five years as well hosting several shows on tv from daytime quiz show Unbeatable to Sunday Night at The Palladium and The Royal Variety Performance. He can currently be seen on ITV1 every Saturday night judging on the new series of Starstruck. Later this month, he will host BBC One’s primetime show Big Night of Musicals for the second time.

Ashley BanjoAshley Banjo is the founder, creative director and choreographer for the dance group Diversity who found fame in 2009 after winning Britain’s Got Talent. He will make his West End musical debut in The Wizard of Oz, in the role of The Tin Man.

The BAFTA award-winning group Diversity has achieved what no other dance group has, having sold well over half a million tickets across their 10 sell-out UK tours. Diversity have numerous television performances to their name and won a BAFTA award for the Must See Moment of 2020 for their iconic performance on Britain’s Got Talent. Ashley was recently awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours 2022 for services to dance and last year Ashley and Diversity were privileged to perform for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at her Platinum Jubilee concert.

As well as his own tours with Diversity, on the stage, Ashley starred in the Olivier Award-winning production of Dick Whittington and went on to headline a further five productions, showcasing not only his dance but also his acting and comedic talent. Aside from his on stage achievements Ashley is well known for his television roles; he has presented, judged and produced many award-winning programmes including Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing On Ice and the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning The Real Full Monty.

Further star casting is to be announced.

Join Dorothy and Toto on an unforgettable adventure as they are swept over the rainbow to the merry old land of Oz.

Featuring the iconic original score from the Oscar-winning MGM film, including Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road and We’re Off To See the Wizard – with additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice – this spectacular production will be a magical experience for all the family.

Directed by Nikolai Foster (Billy Elliot The Musical, A Chorus Line) The Wizard of Oz has choreography by Shay Barclay, Set Designer is Colin Richmond, Projection Designer is Douglas O’Connell, Costume and Puppet Designer is Rachael Canning, Lighting Designer is Ben Cracknell, Sound Designer is Adam Fisher, Creative Consultant is Mark Kaufman, Musical Director and Musical Supervisor is George Dyer, Casting Director is Kay Magson CDG, Props Supervisor is Marcus Hall Props and Wigs, Hair and Makeup Designer is Elizabeth Marini.

Follow the yellow brick road next summer to The London Palladium!

Michael Harrison, Gavin Kalin with David Mirvish, Crossroads Live, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Rupert Gavin & Mallory Factor by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Limited, present the Curve production of The Wizard of Oz.

LISTINGS

The London Palladium
8 Argyll Street, London W1F 7TF

THE WIZARD OF OZ
www.wizardofozmusical.com

Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Additional Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Additional Lyrics by Tim Rice
Adaption by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams
Orchestrations by David Cullen
Orchestrations adapted by George Dyer

From the book by L. Frank Baum

Based Upon the Classic Motion Picture owned by Warner Media, and produced with the permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and EMI Music Publishing

Director Nikolai Foster
Choreographer Shay Barclay
Set Designer Colin Richmond
Projection Designer Douglas O’Connell
Costume and Puppet Designer Rachael Canning
Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell
Sound Designer Adam Fisher

Creative Consultant Mark Kaufman

Musical Director and Musical Supervisor George Dyer
Casting Director Kay Magson CDG
Props Supervisor Marcus Hall Props
Wigs, Hair and Makeup Designer Elizabeth Marini

Cast
The Cowardly Lion Jason Manford
Tin Man Ashley Banjo
Further Casting to be announced

Performances
Wednesday – Saturday 7:00pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees 2:00pm
Sunday 1:00pm & 5:00pm
Ashley Banjo will not be appearing in the performances on 19 & 20 July
Booking from 23rd June

TOUR DATES 2023/24
Weds 13 Dec – Sun 7 Jan Box Office: Box Office: 03330 096 690
Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Tues 16 – Sun 21 Jan Box Office: 023 8071 1811
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
www.mayflower.org.uk

Tues 30 Jan – Sat 3 Feb Box Office: 0114 249 600
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Tues 13 – Sat 17 Feb Box Office: 03330 096 690
Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh

Tues 20 – Sun 25 Feb Box Office: 01702 351135
Cliffs Pavilion Southend
www.thecliffspavilion.co.uk

Tues 27 Feb – Sun 3 March Box Office: 01603 630 000
Theatre Royal, Norwich
www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Tues 5 – Sun 10 March Box Office: 01492 872 000
Venue Cymru, Llandudno
www.venuecymru.co.uk

Tues 19 – Sat 23 March Box Office: 01274 432000
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
www.bradford-theatres.co.uk

Tues 26 – Sat 30 March Box Office: 01752 267 222
Theatre Royal, Plymouth
www.theatreroyal.com

Tues 2 – Sun 7 April Box Office: 03330 096 690
Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol

Tues 9 – Sat 13 April Box Office: 0115 989 5555
Theatre Royal, Nottingham
www.trch.co.uk

Tues 16 – Sun 21 April Box Office: 08448 11 21 21
Theatre Royal, Newcastle
www.theatreroyal.co.uk

Further dates to be announced.

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