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Cast: Tucker & Crawford Extend, Full CFT Sweeney

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Producers of West End smash hit musical Wicked have announced that Whatsonstage.com Award winner Rachel Tucker will stay with the show, continuing to play green-skinned witch Elphaba into 2012.

Although the exact length of Tucker's contract has not been announced, the show's producers have confirmed that Louise Dearman (Glinda), Mark Evans (Fiyero), Clive Carter (The Wizard), Julian Forsyth (Dr Dillamond), Zoe Rainey (Nessarose) and Ben Stott (Boq) will all play their final performances on 10 December 2011.

Tucker, who was formally a finalist on the BBC's search for Nancy, I’d Do Anything, followed her reality TV success with a West End stint in We Will Rock You. She joined the company of Wicked in March 2010.

Wicked, which opened at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre on 27 September 2006 (previews from 6 September) following success on Broadway, tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz.

A multiple Whatsonstage.com Award winner, the musical 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. It’s directed by Joe Mantello.

In other musical news Michael Crawford has extended his engagement in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End production of The Wizard of Oz, announcing he will remain in the role until 5 February 2012.

Crawford, who has starred in the The Wizard of Oz since the musical opened at the London Palladium on 1 March 2011 (previews from 7 February), famously originated the role of the Phantom in the 1986 premiere of Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

The Wizard of Oz is Crawford's first stage outing since Lloyd Webber lured him back to the West End stage to star as Count Fosco in his 2004 musical The Woman in White, which premiered at the Palace Theatre and earned him a Whatsonstage.com Award.

Best known from the 1939 Hollywood film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy The Wizard of Oz is brought to the stage with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Crawford stars alongside Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy, Hannah Waddingham, Edward Baker-Duly, David Ganly and Paul Keating. The musical is directed by Jeremy Sams with choreography by Arlene Phillips, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

In other musical casting news, the full company has now been announced for Chichester Festival Theatre's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Starring the previously announced Michael Ball as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Imelda Staunton as his pie-making partner in crime Mrs Lovett, the production will also feature Lucy May Barker as Johanna, Peter Polycarpou as Beadle Bamford, John Bowe as Judge Turpin, Luke Brady as Anthony, Robert Burt as Pirelli and James McConville as Tobias.

Sondheim’s 1979 Broadway musical, which has a book by Hugh Wheeler, was last seen in London in 2005 in John Doyle’s actor-musician Watermill Theatre revival, which had an extended season at Trafalgar Studios and then at the New Ambassadors, won two Whatsonstage.com Awards and later transferred to Broadway where it won two Tony Awards.

The Chichester production is directed by Jonathan Kent and plays the Festival Theatre from 6 October to 5 November 2011 (previews from 24 September).

Lucy May Barker's theatre credits include the tour of The Reluctant Debutante, Earthquakes in London and Really Old Like Forty Five at the National Theatre, The Crucible at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, Zombie Prom at the Landor and Spring Awakening at the Lyric Hammersmith and in the West End.

John Bowe has appeared in the West End production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Terms of Endearment on tour, The Lady from the Sea and Heartbreak House at the Almeida, The Marriage of Figaro and The Price at the Palace Theatre, Watford, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme at the Hampstead Theatre, Saint Joan at the Old Vic and in numerous productions for the RSC.

Recently seen in the Chichester production of Love Story which transferred to the West End's Duchess Theatre, Peter Polycarpou's theatre credits also include Last Easter and A Christmas Carol for Birmingham Rep, Imagine This at Plymouth Theatre Royal and in the West End, Silver Birch House at the Arcola, Ordinary Angels at Manchester Royal Exchange, Oklahoma! at the National, The Odd Couple and Angels in America at Manchester Library Theatre, The Secret Garden and Titus Andronicus for the RSC and West End productions of Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Robert Burt's theatre credits include Candide, Troilus and Cressida, Money and Summerfolk at the National, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and Merry Wives: The Musical for the RSC as well as numerous opera credits for companies including Opera North, English National Opera and Glyndebourne.

The rest of the company has been announced as: Valda Aviks, Will Barratt, Josie Benson, Emily Bull, John Coates, Daniel Graham, Gillian Kirkpatrick, Robine Landi, Brian McCann, Tim Morgan, Adam Pearce, Vincent Pirillo, Wendy Somerville, Anton Stephans, Simeon Truby, Kerry Washington and Annabel Williams.

The production is designed by Anthony Ward, with choreography by Denni Sayers, lighting by Mark Henderson, musical direction by Nicholas Skilbeck and sound by Paul Groothuis.

Finally, full casting has been announced for the Southwark Playhouse production of Parade which plays the theatre's vault theatre space from 16 August (previews from 10 August) to 17 September 2011. The cast includes Alastair Brookshaw, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Simon Bailey and Mark Inscoe.

Nominated for nine Tony Awards on its 1998 Broadway premiere - winning Best Book and Best Score as well as both Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best New Musical - Parade has a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.

Alastair Brookshaw plays Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who in 1913 was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. Brookshaw was seen in Craig Revel Horwood’s Watermill Theatre revival of Hot Mikado and was a vocalist in Sadler's Wells Shoes. His other West End credits include Cabaret and Blood Brothers.

He stars alongside Laura Pitt-Pulford  as Lucille Frank, Leo’s wife. Her recent credits include Guys and Dolls at Salisbury Playhouse, Copacabana at the Watermill and Sunset Boulevard at both the Watermill and its West End transfer to the Comedy Theatre.

Simon Bailey (Tom Watson) played Raoul in Phantom of the Opera and has also appeared in Passion at the Donmar Warehouse and Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre and We Will Rock You at the Dominion. Mark Inscoe's (Hugh Dorsey) theatre credits include Priscilla, La Cage Aux Folles and The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas.

The rest of the cast have been announced as Kelly Agbowu, Jessica Bastick-Vines, Michael Cotton, Terry Doe, Natalie Green, David Haydn, Abiona Omonua, Philip Rham, Samantha Seager, Victoria Serra, Samuel J Weir.


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