"Laugh In" star Jo Anne Worley and Mickey Rooney headline the latest go `round for the Madison Square Garden mounting of The Wizard of Oz ending May 16. Performances began May 6.
Worley stepped into the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in Grand Rapids (April 14-18). Montevecchi's last performances was in Detroit, MI.
Worley, best known for her roles on Rowan and Martin's "Laugh In," had toured extensively with Annie, Nunsense I and II, The Pirates of Penzance, Anything Goes and Gypsy for which she won her fifth Drama-Logue Award. Worley also spent six months in Grease on Broadway. Lilliane Montevecchi had been touring with the show but left in mid-April, with Worley taking over starting with Grand Rapids (April 14).
Worley had made a tour bid earlier last year when she was cast as Pseudolus in the current tour of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. However, due to reported problems with transporting her dogs, Worley left the tour to be replaced by Rip Taylor.
The 1998 Oz tour began in March in Rosemont, IL, and starred Mickey Rooney as the Wizard, Kitt, Lara Teeter (Scarecrow), Ken Page (The Cowardly Lion), Dirk Lumbard (Tin Man) and seventeen year old Jessica Grove (Dorothy). It returned to The Theater at Madison Square Garden spring 1998. Rooney, Lumbard and Grove will all reprise their roles with the addition of Francis Ruivivar, a veteran of Miss Saigon, who will take over the Cowardly Lion, and Casey Colgon, the production's original "Lead Tree," who replaces Teeter as the Scarecrow.
This new tour will continue through the following cities:
May 5-16: New York, NY, The Theatre at Madison Square Garden
June 3-13: Tempe, AZ, Gammage Center
June 17-July 4, 1999: Los Angeles, CA, Pantages Theatre
July 7-18: Costa Mesa, CA, Orange County Performing Arts Center
July 22-Aug. 1: Portland, OR, Portland Civic Auditorium
Additional cities are expected to be announced.