Comedian Jason Manford and Diversity creator Ashley Banjo will star as the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man respectively in the Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

Jason Manford and Ashley Banjo

Jason Manford and Ashley Banjo will appear as the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man in London’s The Wizard of Oz.

The show, which sees Ashley Banjo’s West End debut, is running from Friday 23rd June until Sunday 3rd September.

Groups of ten or more people can now make use of an early booking rate, valid on Wednesday and Thursday shows from 28th June until 20th July. Regular group rates also apply after these dates for certain performances to see Manford as the Cowardly Lion and Banjo as the Tin Man.

Jason Manford has hosted the Olivier Awards for the past five years as well hosting several programmes on TV from daytime quiz show Unbeatable to Sunday Night at The Palladium and The Royal Variety Performance. He can currently be seen on ITV1 every Saturday night judging on the new series of Starstruck

The 41-year-old’s theatre credits include Signor Pirelli in the Olivier Award-winning production of Sweeney Todd alongside Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball in 2012, Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’ The Producers across a UK-wide tour and as Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  

Ashley Banjo is the founder, creative director and choreographer for the dance group Diversity that found fame in 2009 after winning Britain’s Got Talent. 

Diversity has sold well over half a million tickets across their ten sell-out UK tours and have numerous television performances to their name.

The performer was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours 2022 for services to dance and last year the group performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her Platinum Jubilee concert.

Although this marks Banjo’s debut in London, he is no stranger to the theatre having performed in several pantomimes, including Jack and the Beanstalk at Milton Keynes Theatre in 2021.

Further casting for the London show will be announced soon.

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Can’t see it in London? See it on tour…

Following its summer season at the London Palladium, The Wizard of Oz will then embark on an extensive UK tour, opening with a Christmas season at the Liverpool Empire from 13th December until 7th January 2024.

The show will then travel in 2024 to the likes of Southampton (16th - 21st Jan), Norwich (27th Feb - 3rd March), Bradford (19th - 23rd March), Plymouth (26th - 30th March) and Nottingham (9th - 13th April). All the stops on the tour can be found on the website.

Producer Michael Harrison said: “There really will be no place like the Liverpool Empire this Christmas, as Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion embark on their journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

“Director Nikolai Foster and his team have created a new and magical production of this beloved musical, and we can’t wait to take the show to Liverpool and then to audiences all around the country.”

Casting for the tour will be revealed closer to opening night. 

About the show

Groups can expect to hear the iconic original score from the Oscar-winning MGM film, including Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road and We’re Off To See the Wizard - with additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Michael Harrison, the producer of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which toured in 2022, is behind the new show which began life at Leicester’s Curve Theatre.

The Wizard of Oz has choreography by Shay Barclay, set design by Colin Richmond, costume and puppet design by Rachael Canning and lighting design by Ben Cracknell.

Casting for the UK tour will be revealed closer to opening night and group rates are venues specific.

For more information about show dates at the London Palladium or venues hosting the musical on tour, go to