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Sam Kelly Exits West End's WICKED, Martyn Ellis to Step in as 'The Wizard'

Sam Kelly Exits West End's WICKED, Martyn Ellis to Step in as 'The Wizard'

WICKED, the multi award-winning West End musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, will welcome Martyn Ellis to the role of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' from Monday 17 February. He replaces Sam Kelly who has withdrawn from the production due to ill health.

Martyn Ellis received a Whatsonstage Award for his performance as 'Nicely Nicely Johnson' in Michael Grandage's acclaimed production of Guys and Dolls with Ewan McGregor (Piccadilly Theatre). He more recently starred as 'Harry Dangle' in One Man, Two Guvnors (at the National Theatre, in the West End and at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, directed by Nicholas Hytner) and 'Alfred P. Doolittle' in Daniel Evans' production of My Fair Ladywith Dominic West and Carly Bawden (Sheffield Crucible). Other major theatre roles include 'Pumbaa' in Disney's The Lion King (original London cast, directed by Julie Taymor); 'Hermann Preysing' in Grand Hotel (Donmar Warehouse, directed by Michael Grandage) and 'Thenardier' in LES MISERABLES. On television he played 'Friar Tuck' in 52 episodes of The New Adventures of Robin Hood (Warner Bros. International Television) and will shortly be seen as 'Big Al' in the new Sky 1 drama series The Smoke.

Martyn Ellis (The Wizard) joins international Wicked star Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba), Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible), Paul Clarkson (Doctor Dillamond); Sam Lupton (Boq), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Emma Hatton (Standby Elphaba) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby Glinda).

Acclaimed as "a magical mystery tour through the fantasy land of Oz" (London Evening Standard), the London production of the global musical phenomenon has already been seen by over 5.5 million people since its premiere in September 2006. While continuing its open-ended West End run, a spectacular new production is also touring the UK and Ireland and opens at Milton Keynes Theatre on 4 February. This record-breaking tour then continues to Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Southampton, Edinburgh and Aberdeen with further dates to be announced.

Wicked has music and lyrics by multi GRAMMY® and Academy Award® winner Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, musical staging byWayne Cilento and is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner and Olivier Award nominee Joe Mantello. Wicked, which is based on the acclaimed novel 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West' by Gregory Maguire, has won over 90 international awards.

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

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