Lloyd Webber to search for a Dorothy

Published September 11, 2009

Following previous televised casting successes How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, I’d Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do, the BBC has today confirmed that 2010 will see Andrew Lloyd Webber and the British public searching for an actress to star in a new production of The Wizard Of Oz.

Host Graham Norton is to return for the series, which will begin auditioning hopefuls early next year, though the judging panel, which last time included John Barrowman, Denise van Outen and Barry Humphries, is yet to be confirmed. As with the previous series, the fate of the performers will be in the hands of the viewers, as they vote for the actress they would most like to see play Dorothy.

Speaking about his next television project, Lloyd Webber said: “Our previous musical talent searches have provided an incredible shot in the arm for musical theatre in Britain and I can’t wait to work with the BBC again in the hunt for Dorothy – an iconic role of course made famous by a young Judy Garland in the film in 1939, but, as a cat man myself, however, I approach casting Toto with considerable trepidation.”

Lloyd Webber’s collaborations with the BBC have previously unearthed performers including Connie Fisher, Lee Mead and Jodie Prenger, who each won their respective series and went on to lead the casts of The Sound Of Music, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and current hit Oliver!

Next year could prove a busy one for composer, producer and TV personality Lloyd Webber as the much rumoured sequel to his long-running hit The Phantom Of The Opera, Love Never Dies, is also expected to open in the West End.

The Wizard Of Oz, made famous by the classic 1939 film, is based on L Frank Baum’s novel and tells the story of Dorothy, a young girl who becomes caught in a cyclone and finds herself in a magical world. Hunted by a green-skinned witch with a very personal vendetta, she must make friends quickly on her way to finding the one man who might be able to send her home, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The famous story also provides a starting point for current West End hit Wicked, which explores the characters’ lives before, during and after Dorothy’s visit to their enchanted land, discovering a rather different Wicked Witch of the West.

“The Wizard Of Oz,” commented BBC1 Controller Jay Hunt, “is one of the great musicals and I am sure BBC One audiences will delight in having a front row seat in the casting of a new musical star.”

No venue or dates for the West End production have been announced.

MA