Jason Manford and Ashley Banjo to star in ‘The Wizard of Oz’

The pair will play the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man in the summer production. Following performances at the London Palladium, the musical will tour nationwide.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Somewhere over the rainbow, there’s a West End cast. Jason Manford and Ashley Banjo will play two of Dorothy’s friends in The Wizard of Oz. The musical begins performances at the London Palladium on 23 June, ahead of an opening night on 6 July, and performances to 3 September.

Jason Manford will play the Cowardly Lion. Although he's best known as a comedian, he’s also starred in Curtains at the Wyndham’s Theatre, and a nationwide tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Ashley Banjo will make his musical debut as the Tin Man. The Diversity member and choreographer rose to fame on season three of Britain’s Got Talent. He’s since starred in Pantoland at the Palladium at the London Palladium. Further casting for The Wizard of Oz will be revealed later.

The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy and Toto as they are swept from Kansas to the fantasy land. In Oz, Dorothy meets a tin man, a lion, and a scarecrow, and the quartet journey down the yellow brick road in the hopes of Dorothy returning home.

The musical features songs by Harold Arlen and E Y Hardburg, including "Follow The Yellow Brick Road,” as well as additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, including "Red Shoes Blues" and "Farewell to Oz." Find out more about Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.

Nikolai Foster directs the musical, with choreography by Shay Barclay, set design by Colin Richmond, costume and puppet design by Rachael Canning, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, and sound design by Adam Fisher.

The Wizard of Oz is at the London Palladium.

Photo credit: The Wizard of Oz cast (Photo by Marc Brenner)

Originally published on

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