Lloyd Webber Withdraws from Wizard of Oz Reality Casting Program; TV Show Canceled

News   Lloyd Webber Withdraws from Wizard of Oz Reality Casting Program; TV Show Canceled
Andrew Lloyd Webber has withdrawn from plans to help cast a new stage version of The Wizard of Oz by reality TV in 2010.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Lloyd Webber was among the judges for reality-TV castings of his own productions of The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and for Cameron Mackintosh's production of Oliver! in 2008. The previous BBC1 shows – called "How Do Solve a Problem Like Maria?," "Any Dream Will Do" and "I'd Do Anything" – respectively made stars of Connie Fisher, Lee Mead and Jodie Prenger.

According to reports in The Sun, Lloyd Webber has now withdrawn from doing a public television search for a performer to play Dorothy, owing to scheduling difficulties with his forthcoming musical Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, and fears that there may be a conflict of interest in the publicity that would ensue. According to Andre Ptasysnski, chief executive of Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, "It's just too risky. It's only been in the last two or three weeks that we've realized how much of a field day people would have with it. Andrew would be accused of doing the BBC show just to get publicity for Love Never Dies. The BBC would then be made to look like it was giving him undue prominence. We spoke with BBC director general Mark Thompson and we agreed to pull it. It is no reflection on our relationship with the BBC - Andrew loves making shows with producers there."

The production of The Wizard of Oz is still expected to go ahead, but casting will be through conventional channels. Lloyd Webber hopes to do another musical reality TV show, but "it won't be until at least later on in 2011."

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