Visit London Blog » the wizard of oz Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On in London This Weekend: 22-24 June 2012 Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:30:44 +0000

From outdoor musicals to adult face-painting and a very expensive Scotch egg, there’s plenty of excitement to be found in London this weekend. Here are our recommended things to do.

West End Live

Fans of musicals should pay a visit to Trafalgar Square this weekend for West End Live, a huge free festival on Saturday and Sunday afternoons which celebrates London’s West End shows from Phantom of the Opera to Wicked. For the first time ever this year, the line-up includes performances from every single West End musical currently playing. 23 – 24 Jun

Taste of London

Forty of London’s best restaurants will dish up feasts as part of Taste of London, the capital’s fine dining festival which is returning to Regent’s Park. There is also a boutique food market, delicious demonstrations from top chefs like Jason Atherton and Michel Roux Jr, a masterclass in matching champagne to the scent of flowers and the chance to win the world’s most expensive Scotch egg – priced at a mere £500. 21 – 24 Jun

BP Portrait Award

Young New York artist Aleah Chapin has won the renowned portrait-painting award with a nude picture of her family friend. The artwork, titled Auntie is on show at the free exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery, alongside 54 other finalist portraits which were whittled down from 2,187 entries. Until 23 Sept

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is an outdoor arts extravaganza that will bring theatre, dance and eccentricity to spots around Greenwich like the Cutty Sark Gardens and Greenwich Market. Don’t miss Prometheus Awakes on Friday night – a spectacular retelling of the Greek myth featuring an enormous glowing puppet at the National Maritime Museum. Another highlight this weekend is the recreation of the 19th century Greenwich Fair, which includes a show inside a 30ft pig and gravity-defying piano. 21 – 30 Jun

Zoo Lates

See the animals but leave the kids at home: ZSL London Zoo is offering grown-up fun by opening its doors after hours every Friday in June and July for Zoo Lates. A silent disco, street food, music, comedy and cabaret performances transform the zoo into a festival – and you can even turn into a creature with costumes and face-painting (we all know we’re tempted when the kids get it done). Over 18s only. Fridays until 27 Jul

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Kids Week Launch: Booking Opens Tomorrow Mon, 11 Jun 2012 16:00:30 +0000 We attended a star-studded (and school-kid-stuffed) birthday party for Kids Week earlier today. The festival, which gives parents the chance to take kids to the theatre for free during August each year, is celebrating its 15th birthday.

At the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End stars including Richard Blackwood and Carly Stenson (from Shrek), Tom Chambers (Top Hat), Bonnie Langford (Spamalot) and the boys from Thriller Live, gave an audience of super-chirpy children a taste of all the excitement to come this summer.

This year, theatregoers will be able to book for hit musicals including Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Les Misérables, Singin’ In The Rain and We Will Rock You, comedies like The 39 Steps, One Man, Two Guvnors and Yes, Prime Minister, dramas Chariots Of Fire, The Doctor’s Dilemma and The Woman In Black, and colourful children’s shows such as Dora The Explorer and The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Kids Week offers you a free child’s ticket for every adult ticket purchased to one of the participating shows, plus the opportunity to purchase up to two more children’s tickets half-price.

As well as the shows, Kids Week gives children the chance to take part in singing workshops, Q&As, dance classes and puppet workshops, backstage demonstrations and more. You can take part in a Tigerlympics Tea Party, become a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz or learn about the Terrible Tudors in a Horrible Histories workshop.

Go to for a full line-up of shows and activities on offer. Tickets go on sale on the website at 10am tomorrow or you can call the Kids Week 24 hour booking hotline on 0844 248 5151. You can also keep up-to-date with Kids Week on their facebook and twitter pages. and

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London Video of the Week: Pass on the Football, Catch a Show Instead! Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:00:56 +0000

Here’s a great video of some of London theatre’s top names messing around with a football.

It’s a fun reminder that, despite the European Championships kicking off later today, there’s lots of other forms of entertainment available in London, particularly if you’re not a footie fan! There’s some pretty impressive skills on show in the video above. Who else thinks David Suchet’s stunning header could be a timely lesson for Andy Carroll?

For more info on all London’s current and forthcoming theatre shows, check out

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Thursday Theatre News: Legally Blonde, American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz and Jodie Prenger Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:39:50 +0000 This week’s theatre news has been coming in twos: two shows leaving London; two extending; two award ceremonies; and two fantastic bits of cast news…

Firstly, sad news for a musical lover like me. Legally Blonde and Crazy for You are both leaving London in the near future. After three years at the Savoy Theatre, Legally Blonde will close on 7 April. And Crazy For You, which was booking until 28 July, is now going to tap dance off into the sunset on 17 March. If you love musicals, you’ll love these shows, so book your tickets now before it’s too late!

Next up, two shows that have extended their London runs. Green Day’s award-winning rock musical American Idiot is running for an extra week at the Hammersmith Apollo in December this year, due to an overwhelming demand for tickets. And The Leisure Society has also extended its run in London by a week: the cause for such high interest in this toxic comedy is surely the casting of model Agyness Deyn (alongside the lovely Ed Stoppard!)

It’s awards season in Theatreland, and the first of the bunch have already been given out. Congratulations to the National Theatre which scooped more than half the Critics Circle awards on offer, including gongs for Frankenstein (and its stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller) and One Man, Two Guvnors. Other awards went to Sheridan Smith for her performances in Flare Path and Mike Leigh, for his direction for Grief. And there’s more awards coming: this week, it was announced that the Olivier Awards will be taking place in the Royal Opera House on 15 April: if you want to watch the action as it unfolds (with Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball hosting!), you can, as there’ll be a live stream of the ceremony on a big screen in Covent Garden. (Or you can listen on Radio 2; or watch on the BBC’s Red Button.)

London Cast News:

More next week.

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Thursday Theatre News: 2012, Thandie Newton, Karen Gillan and David Suchet Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:08:28 +0000 This week seems to have been dominated by news of London 2012. And London’s theatreland has been getting in on the action too. More than 20 shows have released tickets for the Olympic period, to ensure audiences can book theatre tickets if they’re coming to town for the Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

For a full list of shows that have extended their booking into 2012, check out the Official London Theatre website.

Edward Hall’s all-male theatre company Propeller have also announced their 2012 plans. They’ll perform their Shakespearean pairing of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale at the Hampstead Theatre from 4 to 21 July.

Before we get to that all-important Olympic year, there’s still exciting casting news to think about. This week’s announcements include:

  • Hollywood star Thandie Newton, who’ll appear in Ariel Dorfman’s Death And The Maiden at the Comedy Theatre from October
  • Doctor Who star Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) is making her professional stage debut in Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar, also in October
  • Another debut, this time from Hannah Spearritt (who you’ll know from Primeval, or if you’re my age, S Club 7!) in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse from September
  • And finally, a real favourite of mine, David Suchet’s going to be back on the London stage in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, at the Apollo Theatre. You’ll have to wait til next April for that one, I’m afraid.

Last of all if you’re a fan of London theatre: don’t forget Kids Week, next month!

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The Wizard of Oz at The London Palladium Thu, 17 Mar 2011 15:00:06 +0000

I was finally off to see the Wizard, the new production of The Wizard of Oz at The Palladium.

The show stars Danielle Hope, who won the starring role of Dorothy in the popular eponymous TV programme. Avoiding the gushy sentimentality that can come with the part, Hope’s voice is strong with just the right amount of vulnerability. I couldn’t fault her. This production also welcomes Michael Crawford back to the stage. Known best in theatreland as the original Phantom (and on TV as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em) he is at home in this Andrew Lloyd Webber extravaganza.

No expense is spared in the production’s spectacular special effects. I was overwhelmed by the sparkling revolving set, the glorious costumes and the convincing cyclone. Each manoeuvre is perfectly executed, including incredible stunts hovering over the audience.

Along with the familiar classics, three new songs have been added. Hannah Waddingham is brilliant as the pointy nosed witch, executing a bizarre Cheryl Cole-like routine in one song. Dorothy’s three loyal friends are well cast too: Paul Keating as the dippy scarecrow; Edward Baker-Duly as a fantastic tap dancing tin man; and David Ganly the overtly camp lion.

Wicked has been dominating the London stage for long enough, it’s about time the original story marked its territory and this is a brilliant show.

The Wizard of Oz musical is booking until 17 September, buy your Wizard of Oz tickets here.

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Five New West End Musicals to Look Forward to in 2011 Tue, 28 Dec 2010 10:00:34 +0000

2010 was a fantastic year for West End musicals. As well as the huge girly hit Legally Blonde, there was a fascinating phantom sequel in Love Never Dies, an incredible tour de force performance in End of the Rainbow, and a gorgeous little chamber musical at the Duchess called Love Story.

We’ve recently bid farewell to Sister Act and Avenue Q, and in the coming weeks Oliver!, Flashdance, The Railway Children and Fela! will close, creating space for some more incredible musicals in 2011.

Here’s five that I’m really looking forward to:

  • Million Dollar Quartet, from 8 Feb
    A Tony Award-winning show transfers to the West End in February, bringing the story of the night Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis performed together, making rock and roll history.
  • Betty Blue Eyes, from 19 March
    Perfect timing: a new musical about organising a Royal Wedding during a recession! Alan Bennett’s fantastic film, A Private Function, is woven into a very British musical, all about a pig called Betty.
  • Wizard of Oz, from 27 Apr
    You’ve watched the BBC show Over The Rainbow, now it’s time to see the show! Danielle Hope stars as Dorothy, with Michael Crawford as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest blockbuster.
  • Shrek The Musical, from 6 May
    Amanda Holden, Richard Blackwood, Nigel Lindsay and Nigel Harman look like a fab British cast to bring this witty Broadway hit to the West End. I can’t wait.
  • Ghost The Musical, from 22 June
    Based on the hit film, and starring Sharon D Clarke and Richard Fleeshman with music by Dave “Eurythmics” Stewart; I think this might be the big hit of 2011.

What are you looking forward to seeing in 2011? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thursday Theatre News: The Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, The Railway Children and Michael Sheen as Hamlet Thu, 13 May 2010 18:00:22 +0000

It’s been a wonderful week for London theatre news.

First, tickets went on sale for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz, opening at the London Palladium next year. Have you got yours yet? Book them here!

Then I learnt that Richard Fleeshman is to join Legally Blonde The Musical next month. The former Corrie star (remember Craig Harris?) and winner of ITV’s Soapstar Superstar will replace Duncan James as the sleazy Warner Huntington III, from 16 June.

Also, news about that Railway Children show being staged in Waterloo Station this summer. Caroline Harker and Marshall Lancaster will lead the cast in the London show: Marshall (who you’ll recognise from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes) reprises the role of Mr Perks after playing the character for York Theatre Royal; and Caroline is going to play Mother.

But I think the most exciting theatre announcement today is that Michael Sheen is going to play Hamlet at the Young Vic next year. Michael Sheen is an amazing actor, who’s played many famous names like Tony Blair, David Frost and Brian Clough on screen. This is sure to be an amazing opportunity to see him on the London stage. And he’ll be directed by Ian Rickson, who was responsible for directing Jez Butterworth’s hit play, Jerusalem. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel more than a little bit tingly and jittery about this news… Sounds like it’ll be amazing.

Finally, do you often find your enjoyment of the theatre is disturbed by other audience members? Do rustling sweet wrappers, persistent coughs and people who whisper during a performance really put you off? Then the One-On-One Festival at BAC might be a solution to your problems! Running from 6 to 18 July, this is the UK’s first major international festival of what’s described as

“an increasingly popular genre of work that takes place between one artist and one audience member at a time”.

Intimate doesn’t even come close to describing it! Find out more at

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