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Kerry Ellis to Return to West End's WICKED; Willemijn Verkaik Will Play Final Performance this Saturday

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Kerry Ellis to Return to West End's WICKED; Willemijn Verkaik Will Play Final Performance this Saturday

WICKED, the award-winning musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is proud to welcome back the original British Elphaba, Kerry Ellis, who will recreate her celebrated performance from Monday 4 August until Saturday 25 October 2014*. Willemijn Verkaik will play her final performance as Elphaba this Saturday (19 July 2014 at 7.30pm**). She departs the production in order to have surgery to address an ongoing back condition.

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked said: "We are all so sorry that Willemijn's truly remarkable international journey with Wicked, that began in Germany in 2007, should end prematurely. It is only her extraordinary determination and professionalism that has enabled her to continue performing to date despite enduring extreme pain and discomfort. We are very grateful to her and pleased that many thousands of West End theatregoers did get the opportunity of seeing her wonderful performance as Elphaba since she joined the cast in November 2013. On behalf of the entire company, we wish Willemijn a full and speedy recovery. In the meantime, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome back the incredible Kerry Ellis to the role that won her awards both in the West End and on Broadway for a very special limited season."

Willemijn Verkaik 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. I thank producers David Stone and Michael McCabe and our General Managers, Playful Productions, the cast and crew and all of you so much for all your support in this difficult time. I promise I'll be back on stage soon, in better shape than ever!"

Kerry Ellis 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".

*Kerry Ellis will not be appearing in Wicked on Tuesday 19 August, Saturday 27 September, Thursday 2 October - Friday 10 October, Tuesday 14 - Thursday 16 October and Saturday 18 October due to her concert appearances.

Willemijn Verkaik will play her final performance as Elphaba on Saturday 19 July 2014. She is currently scheduled to play all evening performances w/c Monday 14 July. At all other performances the role will be played by Emma Hatton.

Already seen by 42 million people in 13 countries and winner of 100 international awards, the London production of the global musical phenomenon is now the 10th longest running show in the West End.

Wicked has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, musical staging by Wayne Cilento and is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello. Wicked is based on the novel, ?Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West?, by Gregory Maguire.

Wicked is produced by: Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone. Executive Producer (UK): Michael McCabe.

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