An Alnwick performer is to take on his first West End leading role in a top international musical.
Daniel Hope, from Alnwick, has just landed the role-of-a-lifetime as he gets into the small shoes of the munchkin Boq in Wicked the Musical.
The announcement was made today as the London version of the hit production announced a new cast line-up starting in September.
The 24-year-old is set to take over as Boq from Monday, September 21, which will see him play the character until 2016.
Mr Hope has been in the ensemble and Sam Lupton’s understudy for the part of Boq since September.
Speaking to the Gazette, he said that taking on the role would feel “totally different”.
“It will be weird not having to feel like I’m on call all the time so it will be nice to relax and not have as many rehearsals,” he said.
As Mr Hope has been playing the understudy role of Boq, he has been allowed to keep his Geordie accent and bring a touch of the North East to the West End stage.
“I hope they let me keep it, that’s how I’ve been playing it and I had to re-audition for the role about a month-and-a-half ago and played it with a Geordie accent then,” he said.
“I think Boq has some importance in the show. As it progresses, the audience discovers the importance of Boq, like all the other characters.”
The award-winning musical tells the untold story of the witches of Oz, Elphaba and Glinda. Boq is infatuated with Glinda, but the love is not reciprocated.
A bonus for the Alnwick actor is that Emma Hatton, who currently plays Elphaba, and Savannah Stevenson, Glinda, have both extended their contracts and will continue the roles into 2016.
Mr Hope said this will help him when he takes over in September.
He added: “I think Wicked is such a loyal company, it loves to keep with the people it has worked with before. I think if you’ve proved yourself and you know you’re a good team player it will keep an eye on you.”
Mr Hope takes over as Boq, with Oliver Savile (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and the UK tour of Cats) as Fiyero; Sean Kearns (The Commitments, The 39 Steps, Billy Elliot The Musical) as Doctor Dillamond; and Carina Gillespie, who played Nessarose, and the role of Glinda on many occasions, on Wicked’s UK and Ireland tour, which stopped in Sunderland, as Standby for Glinda.