The Wizard of Oz at Royal Festival Hall from 23 July

The Wizard of Oz at Royal Festival Hall from 23 July

The Wizard of Oz, will open for a limited run at the Royal Festival Hall, at the Southbank Centre, on 29 July 2008, following previews from 23 July - running to 31 Aug 2008

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Directed by Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director, Jude Kelly, this is the first time in more than 20 years that a major production of The Wizard of Oz has been staged in London. Southbank Centre will be producing the RSC stage version of the story, first shown in London in 1987, which closely follows the original classic MGM film from 1939. The film was based on Frank Baum’s fairy tale book, published in 1900.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “The Wizard of Oz has left an indelible impression on over four generations. From its beginning as an American folk-fairy tale, it has grown into something that lies at the very heart of what we feel about courage and homecoming. With its stunning visual iconography, glorious music, and the unabashed vulnerability of its cast of characters – be they lions, wizards or men of tin – it fulfils the evergreen role of a true classic. I’ve directed The Wizard of Oz once before, and the great thing about it is that it responds equally well to the imagination of theatre making as to the wonderful technicolour of film.”

The Wizard of Oz is adapted by John Kane for THe Royal Shakespeare Company. Music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y Harburg Background music by Herbert Stothart.

Casting to be confirmed!

The production will have a cast of 30, with all of the familiar characters on stage: Dorothy, the Scarecrow who needs a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, the cowardly Lion who desperately needs some courage and, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West. With live music from a 20-piece band, Arlen and Harburg’s classic songs Somewhere Over The Rainbow, We’re Off to See The Wizard and Follow The Yellow Brick Road will transport audiences to a land of munchkins, magic, music and song. The set and costumes will be designed by Michael Vale, Associate Artist at Southbank Centre.

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