Alexia Khadime, currently starring as Nala (pictured) in the West End production of Disney’s The Lion King, will play Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria from 9 June to 29 November 2008. She takes over from Kerry Ellis, who won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Takeover in a Role for the performance, which she will now reprise on Broadway for a limited season before returning to the London production on 1 December.

Khadime is the first black actress to be cast in the role of the green-skinned ‘wicked’ witch of the west in the blockbuster musical set in the land of Oz. She originally joined the cast of The Lion King in 2001, aged 17. She returned to the show in May 2005 to star as Nala and has been playing the role ever since. Her other theatre credits include Whistle Down the Wind and Leader of the Pack on tour and Cinderella The Musical at the Hackney Empire.

Opened on Broadway in 2003, Wicked received its London premiere in September 2006 and has since been seen by over 1.2 million London theatregoers, taking £40 million at the box office so far. Along the way the show has picked up a host of awards including three Tony Awards including Best Design and Best Costumes. In 2007, the show also won four Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards including Best New Musical, while this year, current Elphaba (until 7 June 2008) Kerry Ellis won Best Takeover in a Role.

The current cast also features Dianne Pilkington as Glinda, Oliver Tompsett as Fiyero and Susie Blake as Madame Morrible, who is replaced by Harriet Thorpe from 14 April (See News, 20 Feb 2008) and Nigel Planer, who is replaced by The History BoysDesmond Barrit from 9 June (See News, 26 Mar 2008).

Wicked has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and is directed by Joe Mantello. The musical is based on the book Wicked – The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. The London production is now booking until 4 April 2009.

- by Terri Paddock