British light entertainment icon Des O’Connor is following the yellow brick road all the way to the London Palladium, where he will replace Russell Grant in The Wizard Of Oz.
The stage and TV star, who has previously made more than 1,200 solo appearances at the historic London venue, steps into the Wizard’s emerald outfit from 22 May, leading the cast for what is being described as the show’s ‘final season’.
Despite O’Connor’s many appearances at the London Palladium, this will mark the first time that the British crooner has starred in a musical at the venue. He joins a cast that also includes Over The Rainbow runner up Sophie Evans as Dorothy, Edward Baker-Duly, Martin Callaghan, Paul Keating, Emily Tierney and Marianne Benedict.
O’Connor, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, has sold more than 16 million copies of his 36 albums over the years, spending 117 weeks in the top 10 of the UK charts. These days he is probably best known as a TV host, his most recent hit series being Today With Des And Mel.
O’Connor becomes the third performer to dwell at the centre of the Palladium’s Emerald City, following dancing astronomer Grant and original West End wizard Michael Crawford, who led the show when it opened in March 2011.