John Frost and Suzanne Jones are delighted to announce that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz is coming to Australia. The Australian Premiere will be held in Brisbane in November, then travel to Sydney in December, this new stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting revision of the all-time classic. Developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay, it contains the beloved Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg songs from the Oscar®-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Leading the cast as The Wizard and Professor Marvel will be Australia’s leading star of musical theatre, Anthony Warlow. Blessed with a thrilling voice, Anthony’s versatility has enthralled Australian audiences ever since his 1981 debut with the Australian Opera at the age of 19 in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His lengthy stage credits include creating the role of Dr Yurii Zhivago in the Australian premiere production of Doctor Zhivago: The Musical (2011), the Australian tours of Annie (2000 and 2012), performing the title role of The Phantom of the Opera (1990 and 2007-2008), creating the role of Enjolras in the Australian production of Les Miserables (1988), most recently as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, and his musical theatre debut in 1985, playing the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre in London. Anthony made his Broadway debut as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks in Annie in 2013, and has since divided his time between Australia and the US.
“It’s been 16 years since the last Australian tour of The Wizard of Oz,” said John Frost, on behalf of his co-producers. “It’s time to travel the yellow brick road and return to Oz, and the classic story that’s universally loved. This beautiful, sumptuous production was a huge hit in London and the US, and audiences adored the new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. It’s wonderful for Queensland to have the Australian Premiere and we are looking forward to a couple of weeks rehearsals there, with hopefully a chance for the cast and creative teams to enjoy some of Queensland’s natural beauty. It’s also very exciting to welcome Anthony Warlow back to Australia to star in the title role, and I can’t wait to discover a talented young actress to wear Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and sing one of the most-beloved songs of all time, Over The Rainbow.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said securing the opening of The Wizard of Oz cemented Brisbane’s reputation as a premiere cultural and arts destination. “Queenslanders love the performing arts, particularly musical theatre and I am delighted to welcome this wonderful production of The Wizard of Oz to Brisbane later this year. It is a real coup for Brisbane to host
opening night and the first season of The Wizard of Oz’s Australian tour,” the Premier said.
“Queenslanders will be able to enjoy this much-loved production first, and it will also deliver significant cultural tourism benefits and investment to the state including increased visitor nights.”
The new production of The Wizard of Oz had its world premiere at The London Palladium Theatre in March 2011. After a successful West End run, the production had its North American premiere in Toronto in December 2012, and then embarked on a US tour from September 2013. The production boasts a stellar creative team: Jeremy Sams (direction), Robert Jones (set and costume design), Arlene Phillips (choreography), Hugh Vanstone (lighting design), Mick Potter (sound design), Jon Driscoll & Daniel Brodie (video/projection design), David Cullen (orchestrations) and Guy Simpson (musical supervision).
“Brilliant…A ten-star production if ever there was one!” – The Sunday Telegraph
“Enchanting, exciting and electrifying!! The Wizard of Oz is 5-star family fun!” – ETalk CTV
“Over the rainbow and over the top fun! 5 stars!” – Breakfast Television Toronto
Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for the whole family.