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Ellis swaps broomstick for song book

Published 6 January 2009

Kerry Ellis, the West End leading lady who has recently starred in hit musical Wicked on both sides of the Atlantic, will appear without her regular green make-up for two special concert performances at the Shaw theatre this summer.

Kerry Ellis Celebrates The Great British Song Book will run on 20 and 21 June as part of a series of concerts featuring new arrangements of works by many of Britain’s leading composers and lyricists.

The work of Noël Coward, Lionel Bart, Anthony Newley, John Barry, Don Black, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Kate Bush and Queen will be highlighted in the series which begins with three performances by musical theatre star Maria Friedman (5-7 February), whose one-woman show Re-Arranged was recently seen at the Trafalgar Studios.

An original cast member of the London production of Wicked, Ellis succeeded original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, in the role of the misunderstood green witch. She made such an impact in the role that she transferred her talent to Broadway for a six month stint before returning to the Apollo Victoria last month. Ellis’s career has also included understudying Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady, replacing the former EastEnders actress when she fell ill, and creating the role of Meat in We Will Rock You.

Friedman is one of musical theatre’s most respected actresses, with three Laurence Olivier Awards – for By Special Arrangement, Passion and Ragtime – to her name. Her career has also included spells in The Woman In White, Chicago, The Witches Of Eastwick and Sunday In The Park With George, in addition to her many solo shows and concert appearances.

Further performers in the Great British Songbook season are yet to be announced.

MA

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