Kerry Ellis is a British stage actress who is best known for staring as Elphaba in the West End and Broadway productions of the musical Wicked. Her previous most notable roles are for Fantine in the West End production of Les Misérables and as Meat in the original London production of We Will Rock You.
Kerry Ellis was born on the 6th of May 1979, in Haughley, a small village near Stowmarket, Suffolk, which is where she grew up with her older brother Andrew. She attended Stowmarket High School and in 1995, Ellis joined the team of Starmakers at the age of 16, with which she was involved until 1997. Following this, Ellis returned to formal stage training at Laine Theatre Arts.
In 1996 and 1997, as a member of Starmakers, Ellis performed musical numbers such as Memory from Cats and Sun and Moon from Miss Saigon. In 2000, Kerry became a member of the My Fair Lady cast and became second understudy to Martine McCutcheon for the lead role of Eliza Dolittle, which she got to play on multiple occasions. During 2000 Ellis also understudied Marti Webb in Magic Of The Musicals.
In 2002, Ellis originated the role of Meat in We Will Rock You, and played this role for two years, making appearances for performances such as "Party in the Park", "Party in the Palace" and "Parkinson". Ellis left the cast of We Will Rock You on April 17th 2004 and went on to play Ellen in Cameron Mackintosh's UK tour of Miss Saigon. On June 7th, 2005 she joined the cast of Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre playing Fantine. Fantine is the mother of Cosette, who after Fantine's death goes to live with the main charcater Jean Valjean. On March 28th, 2010 Kerry Ellis took over the role of Nancy in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and departed when the production closed on January 8th, 2011. On February 9th, Kerry played her first performance as Grizabella in her limited run in Cats at the London Palladium.
Kerry Ellis joined the original cast of West End's new production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where she was the original standby for Idina Menzel, the lead at the time. On January 1st, 2007 Ellis took over the role full-time, becoming the first British person to play the role of Elphaba. For this performance, Ellis won "Best Takeover in a Role" at the 2008 Theatregoer's Choice Awards. On the 7th June 2008, Kerry temporarily departed the Apollo Victoria Theatre , where she was succeeded by Alexia Khadime, and transferred to the Broadway production of Wicked with performances starting from June 17th, 2008. Kerry Ellis replaced actress Stephanie J. Block, making her the first Elphaba to transfer from West End to Broadway, mirroring original Broadway cast member Idina Menzel who transferred to London. Ellis left the Broadway production on November 9th, 2008, being replaced by Marcie Dodd. Ellis returned to the West End production on 1 December 2008, where she stayed until May 9th, 2009 when she was replaced by Alexia Khadime returned to the role.
Kerry returned to the role of Elphaba in the West End production temporarily from the 4th of August to the 25th of October 2014, due to a back problem sustained by Willemijn Verkaik forcing her to cut her run short to seek treatment. Standby Emma Hatton played the role 21 July - 2 August, before Kerry took over 2 days later. Kerry left the production again on the 25th October 2014, being replaced by Jennifer DiNoia.
Defying Gravity Accident
In late March 2006, during Defying Gravity, as Kerry was strapping herself in the lift, she accidentally engaged the lift activation mechanism with her elbow (normally, it is engaged by the actress's back after they are secured), causing the lift to lock her in and begin the flight sequence while she was not properly secured on the platform. As the lift began to rise, she was being lifted by her dress, frightening her and causing the show to stop temporarily due to the safety hazard. After calming down, the show resumed about 20 minutes later; however, Kerry did not fly.
On May 12th and 13th 2008, Ellis performed alongside Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Josh Groban in a special performance of Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Ellis appeared at the Royal Variety Performance on December 11th 2008 at the London Palladium for senior members of the Royal family. Ellis has also done the workshops for Way Beyond Blue, written by Imogen Stubbs and directed by Trevor Nunn and the title role in Helen of Troy, directed by Gary Griffin.
In 1999 Ellis sang on a recording for Children in Need and did a jingle for Capital Radio. In 2004 Kerry Ellis worked with Queen lead guitarist Brian May to record an orchestral version of the song " No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)", originally a Queen song and featured in the musical We Will Rock You.
Ellis recently worked with Steve Sidwell to produce new recordings of the Wicked songs "I'm Not That Girl" and "No Good Deed". It was expected that a teaser CD of her forthcoming debut album, produced by Brian May in the time since Ellis left We Will Rock You and featuring drum tracks by Taylor Hawkins, would become available in June before she left for Broadway.
The teaser CD was released on 7 July 2008 as Wicked In Rock and features rock versions of Wicked songs "I'm Not That Girl", "Defying Gravity" and a remastered version of her We Will Rock You song, "No One But You". The CD is on sale in London musical shop, Dress Circle, at the Gershwin Theatre and will be available on the British iTunes. A limited edition 12" vinyl has also been released to purchase from Dress Circle.
During her time performing as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, Ellis recorded a song for Scott Alan entitled "Behind these Walls". This song is featured on his album Keys.
On 20 and 21 June 2009, Ellis will sang in the show "The Great British Songbook" at the Shaw Theatre.
Her debut album Anthem was released on the 13th of September 2010
|2015||Cats||Grizabella||The Palladium||Taking over Nicole Scherzinger|
|2014||Wicked||Elphaba||Apollo Victoria Theatre||Returning to role|
|2010 - 2011||Oliver!||Nancy||Theatre Royal Drury Lane||Closing Cast|
|2009 - 2010||Various Concerts||Including the ABBA tribute concert 'Thank You for the Music'|
|2009||Kerry Ellis Sings the Great British Songbook||Shaw Theatre, London||Two concert style performances|
|2008 - 2009||Wicked||Elphaba||Apollo Victoria Theatre||Return to role.|
|2008||Wicked||Elphaba||George Gershwin Theatre||Transfer contract|
|2008||Chess||Svetlana||Royal Albert Hall, London||Two-day limited engagement|
|2006 - 2008||Wicked||Elphaba||Apollo Victoria Theatre||Took over role from Idina Menzel in January 2007.|
|2005 - 2006||Les Misérables||Fantine||Queen's Theatre|
|2004||Miss Saigon||Ellen||National UK Tour|
|2002 - 2004||We Will Rock You||Meat||Dominion Theatre||Originated role|
|2000||My Fair Lady||Eliza Doolittle u/s||Royal National Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane||Understudied for Martine McCutcheon|