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  • Writer's pictureJenna Cockburn

NEWS: The Vivienne Set To Play The Wicked Witch Of The West In The Wizard Of Oz



Michael Harrison and the Really Useful Group are thrilled to today announce that RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner and Dancing on Ice finalist, The Vivienne will play The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz alongside Gary Wilmot who reprises his West End role as The Wizard, at the Edinburgh Playhouse from Tue 13 – Sat 17 Feb 2024 and select dates across the tour. The new musical, based on the iconic story by L. Frank Baum, tours the UK and Ireland throughout 2024, following a celebrated run at the world-famous London Palladium.

 

To book tickets and for information about specific casting at all UK and Ireland tour venues, go to www.wizardofozmusical.com.

 

Join Dorothy, Toto and friends on an unforgettable adventure down the yellow brick road to the merry old land of Oz.


Featuring the iconic original score from the Oscar-winning MGM film, including Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road and We're Off To See the Wizard - with additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice - this spectacular production will be a truly magical experience for all the family.

 

The Vivienne, who will perform as The Wicked Witch of The West, says: “It is quite literally a dream come true to be asked to play The Wicked Witch of the West and to bring this amazing character to life. The Wizard of Oz means everything to me, it’s the ultimate story of overcoming adversity. I first saw the movie aged five and I’ve probably seen it about 100 times since. I played The Tin Man at primary school and got to skate to ‘Over The Rainbow’ on Dancing on Ice so it’s fair to say I’ve had a life-long love affair with the story. Your favourite characters are all there, telling the story you know and love … but with SO much more added to this new production. Prepare to be whisked into an amazing new world of colour.”

 

Gary Wilmot, who reprises his London Palladium role as The Wizard adds: ”I am delighted to revisit a role so wonderful, it’s in the name! Performing as The (wonderful) Wizard in a smash-hit season at the London Palladium was truly a magical experience and I can’t wait to share that with venues around the country next year.”

 

The Vivienne is without doubt the UK's No.1 drag superstar, after emerging as the original champion of the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. Since then, she has become a huge star both in the UK and internationally appearing on TV regularly and releasing music for fans across the globe. 2022 saw The Vivienne's TV career go global when she appeared on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars All Winners' on US TV.

 

2023 saw The Vivienne make history as the first drag star to appear on a major UK reality competition series, competing in 'Dancing On Ice' on ITV. Viv made it all the way through the Top 3, with breathtaking performances in the final. 2023 also saw The Vivienne become the face and voice of the BBC's Eurovision Song Contest trailers. In addition, she performed 'Waterloo' at the massive Eurovision opening ceremony in Liverpool city centre. Please click HERE for The Vivienne’s full biography.

 

Gary Wilmot has starred in a string of television series making him a household name as a comic-actor and singer. He has been a subject of This is Your Life, hosted the Laurence Olivier awards and won a TMA best actor nomination in his musical theatre debut as Bill Snibson in Me And My Girl.

 

His many theatre credits include The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz (London Palladium), The Wizard in Wicked (Apollo Theatre), Jethro in Prince of Egypt (The Dominion) and Badger in The Wind in the Willows (The London Palladium).

 

Gary’s star turn in the Christmas London Palladium Pantomime – which includes as Queen Nigella in Jack & The Beanstalk, Dame Gary in Pantoland at The Palladium, Mrs Crumble in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and Sarah The Cook in Dick Whittington - has cemented his place as one of the legends of the iconic theatre. This year, he appears at the world-famous venue as Mrs. Henrietta Hook in Peter Pan. Please click HERE for Gary Wilmot’s full biography

 

Directed by Nikolai Foster (Billy Elliot The Musical, A Chorus Line) The Wizard of Oz has choreography by Shay Barclay, Set Designer is Colin Richmond, Projection Designer is Douglas O’Connell, Costume and Puppet Designer is Rachael Canning, Lighting Designer is Ben Cracknell, Sound Designer is Adam Fisher, Creative Consultant is Mark Kaufman, Musical Supervisor is George Dyer, casting by Debbie O’Brien, Props Supervisor is Marcus Hall Props, and Wigs, Hair and Makeup Designer is Elizabeth Marini.


The Wizard of Oz on tour is presented Michael Harrison, Gavin Kalin Productions, David Mirvish, Crossroads Live, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Nick Thomas, Rupert Gavin and Mallory Factor, Jake Hine and Playing Field, by arrangement with the Really Useful Group Ltd.


 

Edinburgh Playhouse

With over 3000 seats, the Edinburgh Playhouse is the UK’s largest all-seated theatre. Firmly established in the cultural landscape of Edinburgh and Scotland it plays host to some of the biggest names in live music, stand-up comedy, and musical theatre. It also welcomes many shows as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Although designed as a variety theatre, the Playhouse opened in 1929 as Scotland’s second largest cinema. It was hugely successful and remained so until the downturn in cinema attendance in the early 70s. When it closed in November 1973, the building was at risk of demolition, but following several years of public ‘save the Playhouse’ campaigns, it was eventually saved. The building reopened in 1980 as the fully functional theatre it was always intended to be.


In the years since, it has hosted the likes of Elton John, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Bridges, Tim Minchin, and international hit musicals such as Wicked, We Will Rock You, Matilda, and Disney’s The Lion King. 


The Edinburgh Playhouse is owned by Ambassador Theatre Group.

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