In Conversation With ... Kerry Ellis
Date: 2 April 2011
From a wild haired Bohemian in We Will Rock You to the high flying Elphaba in Wicked, Kerry Ellis has enjoyed some of the West End’s most exciting roles. We caught up with her ahead of her national concert tour with Queen legend and guitar hero, Brian May. Her show reaches Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on the 11th of May and the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on the 12th of May.
Tell us about your upcoming UK tour, Anthems: The Concert.
I’m so excited to be touring my first album with Brian May and a truly incredible band which includes We Will Rock You tour drummer Rufus Taylor.
What has it been like working with Brian May?
Brian is a great friend and has been a huge part of my life for nearly ten years. He produced my first album and has been like a mentor to me. I’m very lucky.
You’re playing at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow in May. Will you be sampling our local delicacies?
Well, I’m not too sure about trying a deep fried Mars Bar but I am really looking forward to bringing my own tour to the Scots. I have been to Edinburgh a few times and absolutely love the city.
Do you have any Mariah Carey style dressing room essentials?
Ha, I would love to say yes and really funny but sadly they are very boring. I just need a kettle. And a mirror... for the audience’s sake!
Recently, you released a rocked up version of Defying Gravity. Do you think musical theatre is still relevant to the pop charts?
I think it should be. The future of musical theatre has already started to merge with the pop world and you can see this beginning in Glee. Music is moving. Given the strength and power of social networks, music in all genres are coming together, and why not.
Do you think Glee is making musicals more mainstream?
It is definitely helping. I think the future of musicals will cross over: the generation of today will demand it. People just need to be open to all that is out there.
Broadway quickly took you to its heart as Elphaba in Wicked. Do you miss New York?
I love New York and had a ball when I was there. What a city! I met some great people and had a fantastic time. I would love to go back there someday.
Did it feel different to perform on Broadway?
It’s funny: it seems that the Americans want to play in the West End and the Brits want to play on Broadway. We are never happy. I can tell you that they are both amazing.
How long did it take to get the Elphaba make-up on?
I got it down to about twenty minutes. After two and a half years years, I was a wiz. Removing it was a little more difficult. I would often wake up with green in my ears.
You’ve been involved in some hugely successful productions. Which role did you enjoy most?
All of my roles have very been different which has been great. I love a challenge and each character has had their own story to tell and brought something new and fresh to get my teeth into. I hope a can keep on telling their stories.
Was it disappointing to die within the first half hour of Les Miserables?
Well not many people know but, after I passed away in act one, I came back as an street urchin and had a ball throwing myself around on the barricade! It was brilliant!
At the 2011 Oliviers, you sang with Barry Manilow. How did that feel?
I am still in shock and cannot really believe that it happened. I don’t really think that it did! I think it was one of the best experiences that I have ever had. It was so surreal to be singing and then looking over to see Barry Manilow staring back at me. Totally mad but something I will never forget.
Who would you most like to share a stage with?
How long do you have? Well, there are so many things that I’d like to do and be part of but I would just love to sing with Ms Liza M.
“We can’t all come and go by bubble”: where would you most like to go in the world?
Right now, anywhere that’s hot and sunny.
Best thing to do with a Sunday afternoon?
I love to go for walks with my dogs.
And now for the cringe worthy final question. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Someone once said to me that if you don’t dream, it won’t happen. I’m dreaming big!
- by Scott Purvis - Theatregoer Reporter
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