West End leading lady Kerry Ellis is to replace Jodie Prenger as Nancy when the I’d Do Anything victor leaves the cast of Oliver! on 29 March 2010.
Ellis, who received much acclaim for her performance as the green witch Elphaba in Wicked, will join a cast including Griff Rhys Jones as Fagin and Steven Hartley as Bill Sykes.
Oliver! producer Cameron Mackintosh commented: “I’m really delighted that Kerry Ellis will take over the role of Nancy when Jodie leaves Oliver! after a triumphant 15 month run. Kerry has become one of London’s favourite leading ladies and recently enjoyed a huge success in Wicked. I have had the pleasure of seeing Kerry’s career grow through roles in my productions of My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon and Les Misérables, where she was an outstanding Fantine. The part of Nancy is one of the most heart-warming and tragic in any musical, so it is wonderful that the role attracts some great talents.”
In addition to leading the cast of Wicked both in the West End and on Broadway, Ellis originated the role of Meat in long-running Queen musical We Will Rock You and recently starred with Idina Menzel and Josh Groban in Chess In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Oliver! opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 14 January, following an Andrew Lloyd Webber-headed search for performers to play both Nancy and Oliver. The classic Lionel Bart musical, which tells the story of a young orphan boy who finds himself among a band nefarious ne’er-do-wells on the streets of London, is directed by award-winner Rupert Goold and features songs including Food Glorious Food, Oom Pah Pah, I’d Do Anything, Consider Yourself and As Long As He Needs Me.
The role of Fagin, which was originally played in this production by Rowan Atkinson, is currently being played by comedian Omid Djalili, who will be replaced on 14 December by actor, comedian and presenter Rhys Jones.