Kerry Ellis, who is currently playing lead character Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria, will pack her pointy hat and black cape, and fly her broomstick across the Atlantic in June to take over the role in the Broadway production. Ellis plays her final London performance on 7 June and has just 10 days to prepare for her debut at the Gershwin theatre on 17 June.
Ellis became the first British performer to play the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West when she replaced original Broadway and West End Elphaba Idina Menzel in January 2007. Following her Broadway run, Ellis will return to the London production which she has been part of from the very start; she was first employed as Menzel’s standby.
Wicked, one of London’s biggest musical hits of recent years, is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire and tells the story of Oz’s two most famous witches, Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. In L Frank Baum’s story and the famous film, the magical pair seems to be opposed to one another, but Wicked tells of how they were once friends in college and what led them on their separate (yellow brick) roads.
Currently starring alongside Ellis are Dianne Pilkington, Oliver Tompsett, Nigel Planer and Susie Blake, though Blake is to be replaced as duplicitous headmistress Madame Morrible by Harriet Thorpe from 14 April. Ellis’s replacement as the gravity-defying enchantress is yet to be announced. em>MA