Ellis Makes Broadway Debut in Wicked June 17; Houdyshell Returns

News   Ellis Makes Broadway Debut in Wicked June 17; Houdyshell Returns Kerry Ellis, who recently ended her stint as Elphaba in the London production of Wicked, joins the New York cast of that hit Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical in the same role June 17.
Kerry Ellis begins her run as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked.
Kerry Ellis begins her run as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked. Photo by Tristram Kenton

The 7 PM performance at the Gershwin Theatre also welcomes the return of Jayne Houdyshell, recently seen in Lincoln Center Theater's The New Century, to the role of Madame Morrible.

Ellis and Houdyshell join a cast that currently features Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda, David Burnham as Fiyero (Aaron Tveit begins June 24), Lenny Wolpe as The Wizard, Cristy Candler as Nessarose, Ben Liebert as Boq and Steven Skybell as Dr. Dillamond.

Ellis, who is the first British actress to play Elphaba on Broadway, portrayed Fantine in Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre and Ellen in the national tour of Miss Saigon. She created the role of Meat in the London cast of We Will Rock You and has also been seen in productions of My Fair Lady and Merrily We Roll Along. Ellis is also currently at work on her debut solo recording, which is being produced by Brian May for release later this year.

Jayne Houdyshell received a Tony nomination for her performance in the Broadway production of Well and an Obie Award as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations for her work in that show's Off-Broadway mounting at the Public Theater. Her numerous theatrical credits also include The New Century, The Receptionist, Much Ado About Nothing, Fighting Words, True Love, Attempts on Her Life, The Pain and the Itch (Jefferson Award) and The Clean House. On screen Houdyshell has been seen in "Garden State," "Changing Lanes," "Maid in Manhattan," "Conviction" and "Law & Order."

Based on Gregory Maguire's novel, which turned every Oz myth inside out, Wicked explores the early life of the witches of Oz: Glinda and Elphaba. The two main characters meet at Shiz, a school where both hope to take up sorcery. Glinda is madly popular and Elphaba is, well, green. By a misunderstanding, they wind up roommates and, after an initial period of mutual loathing, begin to learn something about each other. Their life paths continue to intersect through a shared love, entry into the Emerald City and interaction with the Wizard himself. Eventually, their choices and convictions take them on widely different paths. Wicked features a score by Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, direction by Joe Mantello and musical staging by Wayne Cilento. The creative team also includes scenic design by Eugene Lee, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Tony Meola, projections by Elaine J. McCarthy, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, music supervision and arrangements by Stephen Oremus, orchestrations by William David Brohn and dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott.

The Broadway company plays the Gershwin Theatre. Tickets are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.