Star of stage, screen, and music, Des was awarded the CBE in 2008 for his services to entertainment and broadcasting and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s best loved and most respected stars.
He will take over the iconic role of THE WIZARD in LLOYD WEBBER’s reimagining of THE WIZARD OF OZ, presented by Bill Kenwright and The Really Useful Group, from TUESDAY 22 MAY and play the show’s final season.
Since Des’ first TV appearance in 1963 he has starred in his own shows for over 45 years – longer than anyone else anywhere in the world. His most recent titles include the Des O’Connor Tonight Specials, the award-winning ITV talk show Today with Des and Mel and his interview last year on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, which was the highest-rated of the series. He has just enjoyed a special 80th birthday TV show on ITV, a celebration enjoyed by millions.
He is also a hugely successful music and recording artist, having produced no less than 36 albums, selling over 16 million copies to date, and spending a staggering 117 weeks in the top ten of the charts. On stage, Des has appeared at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Sydney Opera House and over 1,000 times at the London Palladium, with his starring role in Oz returning him to a theatre with which he is synonymous.
Des will star alongside SOPHIE EVANS, runner up in BBC’s ‘Over the Rainbow’, who despite just missing out on the top spot, charmed the millions who tuned in to watch her, ensuring they would never forget the red-headed girl from Wales. And in addition to the eponymous role, Des will also play the character of Professor Marvel, for whom a new song has been specially written, The Wonders of the World.
Alongside Des and Sophie are EDWARD BAKER-DULY (Tin Man), MARTIN CALLAGHAN (Lion), PAUL KEATING (Scarecrow), EMILY TIERNEY (Glinda) and MARIANNE BENEDICT (The Wicked Witch of the West).
The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum is directed by Jeremy Sams, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, set and costumes designs by Robert Jones.