Two more new cast members will join Dianne Pilkington in the West End company of the four-time Award-winning musical Wicked from 16 July 2007 at the Apollo Victoria. Oliver Tompsett and Andy Mace take over from role originators Adam Garcia and Martin Ball as, respectively, Fiyero and Doctor Dillamond. As previously reported, Pilkington succeeds Australian Helen Dallimore as ‘good witch’ Glinda (See News, 15 Mar 2007).

Other current principals – Kerry Ellis (Elphaba), Nigel Planer (the Wizard), James Gillan (Boq), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) and Susie Blake (Madame Morrible), who took over from Miriam Margolyes earlier this month (See 1st Night Photos, 16 Apr 2007) – have all extended their contracts and remain with the company.

Wicked 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.

In this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the production scooped all four of its nominated categories, including Best New Musical, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Miriam Margolyes) and Best Set Designer (Eugene Lee). The musical, directed by Joe Mantello, had its UK premiere on 27 September 2006 (previews from 7 September) and is currently booking through to 29 March 2008.

In other musical casting news, from 30 April 2007, Margaret Preece will take over full-time as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, which has also announced a new seven-month booking period, taking it up to May 2008. Since the Rodgers and Hammerstein revival opened at the London Palladium on 15 November 2006 (previews from 3 November), Preece has been performing two shows to role lead Lesley Garrett’s six shows per week.

The current cast also stars: Connie Fisher* (as Maria), Alexander Hanson (Captain von Trapp), Sophie Bould (Liesl), Ian Gelder (Max), Lauren Ward (the Baroness), Neil McDermott (Rolf) and three teams of children. *Fisher’s former How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? adversary, Aoife Mulholland, now plays the nun-turned-nanny on Monday evenings and Wednesday matinees (See News, 20 Mar 2007). (Also, Fisher is on holiday from 16 to 28 July 2007.)

In this year’s Awards, The Sound of Music won Best Musical Revival and London Newcomer of the Year for Fisher. The production is directed by Jeremy Sams and designed by Robert Jones, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, sound by Mick Potter, lighting by Mark Henderson and musical supervision by Simon Lee. It’s presented by Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation.

- by Terri Paddock