Sam Kelly, star of many of the UK’s favourite sitcoms, is to take on the role of the Wizard in Wicked from 11 May. Also joining the cast are Natalie Anderson, who will play Nessarose, and Alexia Khadime, who returns to play Elphaba.
The three new cast members, who replace Desmond Barrit, Caroline Keiff and Kerry Ellis in the magical musical, join Dianne Pilkington, Oliver Tompsett, Harriet Thorpe, Ashleigh Gray and Sarah Earnshaw, who all continue in their roles. Jeremy Legat and Andy Mace, who play Boq and Doctor Dillamond, are to be replaced by current cast members Alex Jessop and David Stoller.
Kelly’s appearances in classic TV comedies including Porridge, ‘Allo ‘Allo and On The Up have won him a special place in the hearts of British TV fans. Away from sitcom, Kelly has appeared in Mike Leigh’s films Topsy-Turvy and All Or Nothing, Alan Bleasdale’s Oliver Twist and on stage in The Homecoming, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (both National Theatre), Dead Funny, HMS Pinafore (Savoy theatre), Under The Whaleback (Royal Court), Aladdin (Old Vic) and The Female Of The Species (Vaudeville theatre).
Anderson is best known for playing Nurse Stella Davenport in ITV’s hospital drama The Royal, though her television debut came much earlier in life, starring in children’s BBC drama series The Biz. A contestant in the first series of Pop Idol, when she made it to the final 50, she released her first music album, Return To Me, in late 2008.
Khadime originally replaced Ellis in the lead role of Elphaba between 9 June and 29 November 2008, while Ellis took her performance as the misunderstood green witch to Broadway. Khadime has previously played the role of Nala in The Lion King at the Lyceum theatre and appeared in national tours of Whistle Down The Wind and Leader Of The Pack.
Wicked is now in its third year on the London stage and recently celebrated its 1000th performance. Set in the enchanted land of Oz made famous in L Frank Baum’s story The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, it tells of how two college friends, the popular Galinda and smart, feisty Elphaba, went on to become Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.