First look at the new cast who will bring Wicked to Sunderland

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The cast of Wicked are getting ready to wow Wearside next year - and here’s a first look at the cast in their new roles.

Last month it was announced that, fresh from his dramatic departure in Eastenders, Aaron Sidwell will perform in Wicked as Fiyero when the much-loved musical flies back to Sunderland Empire on its 2018 tour.

Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero

Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero

Donning the famous witch’s hat will be Amy Ross as Elphaba and Helen Woolf as Glinda. Meanwhile, Steven Pinder will return as The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond and Kim Ismay will play Madame Morrible.

The cast are in the full swing of rehearsals for the UK tour, which starts in January, and now they’ve been trying on their iconic costumes for size.

After recently playing Steven Beale in Eastenders, Aaron, whose musical theatre appearances include roles in Grey Gardens, American Idiot and Loserville, says he’s enjoying being back treading the boards.

He said: “It was nice to have a little 18-month break being back in Eastenders. We’re three weeks into rehearsals for Wicked now and it’s refreshing to be back in theatre, especially in a show like this.

“I’d seen the musical a couple of times before in the West End and I had some friends in it previously. It’s a new challenge for me as Fiyero as he’s not the protagonist, so it’s nice to be able to take a step back.”

One of the most successful productions in the Empire’s history, Wicked was previously seen by more than 56,000 people during its celebrated North East debut in March/April 2015.

In London, it’s recently become the 15th longest running show in West End theatre history and is now in its 12th year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it continues an open-ended run. Around the world, it’s been seen by over 53 million people in 15 countries, and won over 100 major awards.

Speaking about why the show strikes such a chord with people, Aaron said: “It’s that universal story of social acceptance when you’re different. Whether you strive for it or not, people want to feel like they fit in. People can relate to that and it’s also a very political story, such as the scenes about animal rights. It’s been very well thought out: every word and action in the musical has a meaning and consequence.”

•Wicked is at Sunderland Empire for a four week run from September 4 to 29, 2018. Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland*

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your plus your phone company's access