Entertainment & Arts

Russell Grant to star as the Wizard of Oz in West End

Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace
Image caption Russell Grant's profile was boosted by his Strictly stint

Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant is to replace Michael Crawford in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End musical The Wizard of Oz.

Grant will play the part of the wizard from 14 February for a 12-week run.

The actor and astrologer will be coached by former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips before he takes to the stage.

"I am thrilled to be back where I'm at my happiest - in showbiz. I want to thank the great British public for supporting me in Strictly," Grant said.

"Without them, I wouldn't be back in the West End again."


Grant, 60, began his career as an actor but became better known as an astrologer in the 1980s and 1990s, appearing on BBC Breakfast, ITV's TV-AM and This Morning.

As well as playing the title role in the show at the London Palladium, Grant also takes the part of Professor Marvel, which was also played by West End veteran Crawford.

Danielle Hope, who won the part of Dorothy after appearing in the BBC One show Over the Rainbow, leaves the show on 5 February.

Over the Rainbow runner-up, Sophie Evans, will take over the role full-time from 7 February, having already played Dorothy every Tuesday for the last few months.

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