With news hot off the press that Michael Crawford has been cast as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest show the ‘Wizard of Oz’, we’ve decided to mark the appointment by taking a look back at the famous faces that have danced, sung and trod the boards of the West End stage over the past few months.
Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act
Hollywood heavyweight Whoopi Goldberg caused a clamour for tickets when it was announced she would play Sister Act’s Mother Superior at the London Palladium. The actress was due to take over from Sheila Hancock this August but her run was cut short after she had to return to the states due to a family emergency. Goldberg is due to set the stage alight once more for 5 shows on the 22nd, 23rd and 25th October in the run-up to the show’s London finale on the 30th. Whoopi’s star role has seen fans camping outside the box office and queues doing circuits of the Palladium. Her run also broke the record for the highest weekly gross sales for any musical ever at the Palladium.
Nick Jonas in Les Miserables
American heart-throb and pop sensation Nick Jonas landed the role of Marius in Les Miserables at the West End’s Queens Theatre for a month-long stint in June this year – even though it meant re-scheduling the Jonas Brothers world tour to perform. The special casting saw sell-out shows, received rapturous applause and spurred hoards of teenage girls to flock to London’s Theatreland, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.
Jason Donovan in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Honourary ‘Brit’ Jason Donovan, who has lived in the UK for the past 15 years, dragged it up as Mitzi/Tick in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert from March 2009 to May 2010 at London’s Palace Theatre. After initially finding fame on the Australian TV soap Neighbours and launching a successful pop career during the Eighties, Jason was definitely no stranger to the West End stage after already starring in musicals such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sweeney Todd, The Rocky Horror Show and not forgetting the show that began it all – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat! He recently returned to Australia to appear in the play Festen and will shortly be releasing a new album.
Kelly Osbourne in Chicago
Kelly Osbourne is one fifth of quite possibly one of the most famous rock families in the world The Osbournes, and she hit the big time when their fly-on-the-wall reality TV show was released. Kelly graced the musical theatre world for a few weeks back in 2007 by following in the footsteps of singer Alison Moyet and US rapper Queen Latifah, by playing the role of Mama Morton to rave reveiws.
Rowan Atkinson in Oliver!
Rowan Atkinson is best known for his TV roles as ‘Blackadder’ and his bumbling character Mr Bean, but did you know that he has been treading the boards in London’s West End since the 1980’s? He was distracted from theatre by his successful film career after staring in hit movies such Four Weddings and A Funeral, Johnny English and not forgetting Love Actually. Rowan recently reprised his theatre career for 6 months from January 2009 by starring as leading character Fagin in Oliver!