Susie Blake, known to many as Beverly Unwin in long-running ITV soap Coronation Street, will take over from Award-nominee Miriam Margolyes as Madame Morrible – headmistress of Shiz University and a cohort of the Wizard of Oz - in Wicked from 2 April 2007.

Blake’s other television appearances include Victoria Wood’s As Seen on TV series and various specials. Her recent theatre work includes playing Belinda Blair in Michael Frayn’s Noises Off at the National Theatre, on tour and at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre, and the national tour of High Society, playing Mother Lord. Her other musical theatre credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Rocky Horror Show.

Wicked, which opened on 27 September 2006 (previews from 7 September) at the West End’s Apollo Victoria Theatre (See News, 16 Dec 2005), tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The show has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

Kerry Ellis, whose West End credits include We Will Rock You and Les Miserables, currently leads the cast as green witch Elphaba, having taken over from Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel last month (See First Night Photos, 10 Jan 2007).

Also in the Wicked cast are Helen Dallimore, who plays “good witch” Glinda, Adam Garcia, Nigel Planer, Martin Ball, James Gillan, and Katie Rowley Jones. The London production reunites the New York creative team, led by director Joe Mantello and designer Eugene Lee.

- by Caroline Ansdell