More than five years after leaving the hit production, Kerry Ellis will return to Wicked to reprise her role as Elphaba for 12 weeks from 4 August.
The actress’ return to the show follows the premature departure of the musical’s current star Willemijn Verkaik, who has been forced to cut short her stint in the show in order to undergo surgery on an ongoing back condition.
Ellis, who performed in Wicked in the West End and on Broadway from 2006 to 2009, has a string of other West End credits to her name, including Fantine in Les Misérables, Nancy in Oliver! and Meat in We Will Rock You. Talking about returning to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to play the iconic green-skinned witch, she said: “It is an absolute thrill for me to be returning to this amazing show and the incredible role of Elphaba that is so very special to me. I can’t wait to be green again and join this fantastic cast.”
Verkaik steps down from the role having played the misunderstood sorcery student in productions across the globe. Speaking about her departure, she said: “To be given the chance to play Elphaba in four different countries is something I am incredibly grateful for. Now I have to cut my West End run short and it’s absolutely devastating to me. I’ve been fighting this injury for a few months but was determined not to let anything get in the way of my West End debut and certainly not wanting to disappoint the audiences. But I have to face the facts.”
Verkaik will give her final performance in the London production, which tells the untold story of the witches of Oz, on 19 July.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire with a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked features hugely popular hits including Defying Gravity, Popular, The Wizard And I and For Good, and has been seen by more 42 million people worldwide.
When Ellis finishes her 12 week stint in the production, she will be replaced by Nikki Davis-Jones, who will join the production from 27 October alongside Liza Sadovy and Philip Childs as Madame Morrible and Doctor Dillamond.