Stars turn out to see Wizard of Oz

Sir Michael Caine and Barbara Windsor were among the stars who stepped out for the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest stage spectacular The Wizard Of Oz.

The composer led a TV search for its star Dorothy in BBC One series Over The Rainbow last year, with Danielle Hope eventually winning the role.

Theatregoers – who also included Phillip Schofield, Rowan Atkinson, Michael Winner and Duncan James – strolled up the rainbow-coloured carpet as they arrived to see the production at the historic Palladium theatre in London.

They were joined by several of the runners-up of the television talent show and Lloyd Webber himself, who looked like the Wizard of Oz in his green velvet jacket.

Danielle steps into the ruby slippers of Judy Garland, who famously played the original Dorothy in the 1939 movie.

Although the new version will include the well-loved songs of the film musical, composer Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice have created several new numbers.

The production also marks the first major collaboration between the hit-making duo for more than 30 years. Their past hits have included Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.

Jodie Prenger, who was Lloyd Webber’s Nancy in Oliver! after winning BBC show I’d Do Anything, said she could relate to any first night nerves Danielle might be feeling.

Speaking before the cast took to the stage, she said: “She’ll be petrified right now. But when she walks out on that stage you’ll see that they made such the right decision, ’cause she’s just going to shine. She was just fabulous. And I can’t wait to see the dog, Toto.”

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