Susie Blake, known to TV fans as Beverly Unwin in long-running ITV soap Coronation Street, had her opening night in the Whatsonstage.com Award-winning West End musical Wicked last Thursday (12 April 2007, preview performances from 2 April), taking from Miriam Margolyes as Madame Morrible, headmistress of Shiz University and a cohort of the Wizard of Oz.

In addition to Coronation Street, 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 tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, aka the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba – 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.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for arrivals for the Wicked post-show party at the nearby Park Plaza Hotel in Victoria. Other guests included fellow Coronation Street star Wendi Peters, Hayley Mills, Michelle Heaton and Andy Scott Lee, radio presenter Caroline Feraday, Georgina Bouzova and Leanne Wilson (TV’s Casualty) and the company from ITV’s Musicool, including Annika Gabbitas and Esther Barton (aka Axe Girl).

In the current Wicked cast, Blake joins Kerry Ellis (who plays the green-skinned Elphaba), Helen Dallimore ( “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 Terri Paddock