Briton Kerry Ellis last night (9 January 2007, previews from 1 January) stepped into the pointy boots of Idina Menzel, who created the role of the green-skinned Elphaba, aka the Wicked Witch of the West, in both the Broadway and West End productions of Wicked. The award-winning musical is currently booking at the Apollo Victoria theatre through to 30 June 2007.

Wicked tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, aka the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The show has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

Since understudying Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady at the National and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Ellis’ West End credits have included Les Miserables and Queen’s We Will Rock You, in which she created the role of Meat.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for arrivals and the curtain call at the Apollo Victoria theatre as well as at the green-lit post-show party at the nearby Victoria Park Plaza hotel. Other guests included Linda Robson, pop stars Stephen Gately, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kelle Bryan, Michelle Gayle, Bad Girls’ Nicola Stapleton and Dannielle Brent, Caroline Chikezie (Footballers’ Wives), Kate Lawler (Big Brother), celebrity make-up artist Gary Cockerill and TV presenter Phil Turner.

In the Wicked cast, Ellis joins Australian Helen Dallimore (who plays “good witch” Glinda), Adam Garcia, Nigel Planer, Miriam Margolyes, Martin Ball, James Gillan and Katie Rowley-Jones. The London production reunites the New York creative team, led by director Joe Mantello and designer Eugene Lee.

- by Terri Paddock