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Desmond Barrit is to star as ‘The Wizard’ in the smash hit musical WICKED at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre from Monday 9 June 2008.

Earlier this year, WICKED recouped its entire original capitalisation, making it the first new Broadway musical transfer to achieve this in a decade. The award-winning, record-breaking show has also recently celebrated its 600th performance and has now been seen by over 1.2 million theatregoers since its London premiere in September 2006. Booking has recently been extended again and tickets are currently on sale until Saturday 4 April 2009.

Desmond Barrit is currently starring as ‘Hector’ in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys at Wyndham’s Theatre, for which he has won unanimous critical acclaim. The Olivier Award-winning actor’s performances for the RSC include: ‘Falstaff’ in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (Olivier Award nomination), directed by Michael Attenborough; ‘Bottom’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Adrian Noble (also on Broadway); ‘Trinculo’ in The Tempest, directed by Nicholas Hytner; ‘Antipholus’ in The Comedy of Errors (Olivier Award) and ‘Malvolio’ in Twelfth Night, both directed by Ian Judge. At the National Theatre his acclaimed performances include ‘Pseudolus’ in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directed by Edward Hall; ‘Dick Cheney’ in David Hare’s Stuff Happens and ‘Toad’ in Alan Bennett’s The Wind in the Willows, both directed by Nicholas Hytner. For the Donmar he has starred in Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist with Rhys Ifans and as ‘Birdboot’ in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and ‘Harold Gorringe’ in Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy, both with David Tennant.

Nigel Planer will play his final performance as ‘The Wizard’ on Saturday 7 June 2008 after almost two years in the role.

WICKED currently stars Kerry Ellis as Elphaba (until Saturday 7 June 2008), Dianne Pilkington as Glinda, Oliver Tompsett as Fiyero, Susie Blake as Madame Morrible (until Saturday 12 April 2008) and Nigel Planer as The Wizard (until Saturday 7 June 2008). From Monday 14 April 2008, Madame Morrible will be played by Harriet Thorpe and from Monday 9 June 2008, The Wizard will be played by Desmond Barrit.

WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, musical staging by Wayne Cilento and is directed by Joe Mantello. It is based on the novel, WICKED - The Life and Times of the WICKED Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire.

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