The Wizard of Oz - Theatre Royal Winchester
Theatre Royal Winchester has announced its cast for this year’s traditional family pantomime, The Wizard of Oz – featuring a few returning favourites.
The Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy who follows the yellow brick road to the magical Land of Oz where she hopes to find the wizard who will help her get home to Kansas. On her way she makes three friends, who also have wishes they hope the wizard will grant.
This year the lead, Dorothy, is played by Abigail Coy – who celebrates her professional debut after recently graduating from Liverpool Theatre School and has made her own journey recently, relocating from Lancashire to London. Abigail will be joined by Max Gallagher as Scarecrow, who has performed across the UK in plays including War Horse, James & the Giant Peach and The History Boys. He has also worked as a lyricist, arranger and musical director/supervisor.
With them, two familiar faces – Libby Gore and Julian Eardley. Libby – who has performed in the theatre’s last three pantomimes – appears this year as Rusty, made of tin. Her Winchester debut was in 2019’s Dick Whittington as Fairy Bow Bells, before she returned as Dame Dolly Doughnut and Princess in 2020’s Four Dames in Search of a Panto. Finally, last year she starred as the lead role, Aladdin. While Julian Eardley – beloved as the pantomime dame – returns for his 13th pantomime at the theatre and this year he reprises the role of Lion, which he played in 2009’s Wizard of Oz, as well as appearing as Aunt Em.
Jon Bonner will also be returning – Jon played three characters, Alderman, Captain and Sultan in 2019’s Dick Whittington and wowed audiences with his live trumpet playing. While this year he will once again take on multiple roles as Uncle Henry, The Mayor of Munchkinland, Gatekeeper and The Wizard.
Finally, Katie Stasi steps into Glinda the Good Witch’s shoes and Ellie McMahon plays the Wicked Witch of the West. Last year Katie graduated from Performance Preparation Academy, in Guildford and in December played the lead role, Dick Whittington, in London’s Stanley Arts Theatre’s first full-scale pantomime; while Ellie has played numerous pantomimes roles including Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella; performed in the West End; with the National Symphony Orchestra; and on a cruise ship.
The Wizard of Oz comes from the same team behind previous years’ pantomimes, Dick Whittington and Aladdin – the award-nominated duo, writer and director James Barry and composer Simon Slater – and will feature jokes, original songs and audience participation. It will also star talented support cast members Lewis Galvin, Elizabeth Davis, Holly Gardner-Hall, Jessica Thomas, Hannah Exworth, Lucy Hurt, Peter Lucas, and from last year’s support cast – Olivia Day, Maria Webb and Nina Miller.
There are a number of accessible performances available including relaxed, audio-described and BSL-interpreted; a touch tour; plus, the ability to watch at home with livestream performances – so everyone can enjoy the show in an environment right for them.
The Wizard of Oz will be at Theatre Royal Winchester from Saturday 03 December 2022 to Monday 02 January 2023. For more information or to book tickets visit theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk or call 01962 840 440.