Kerry Ellis stepped into Jodie Prenger’s shoes last night (29 March 2010), taking over as Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s Whatsonstage.com Award-winning production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at the West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane. And judging by the smiles and hugs backstage after the performance, the impresario would “do anything” for his new leading lady!

Ellis is best known for playing Elphaba in Wicked, for which she won the 2008 Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Takeover in a Role, having succeeded original Elphaba, American Idina Menzel, in the West End production. She made her Broadway debut in the Stephen Schwartz musical in 2008, before returning for a limited stint at the Apollo Victoria. Her other musical credits include Queen’s We Will Rock You, in which she originated the role of Meatloaf.

The current cast also features Griff Rhys Jones as Fagin and Steven Hartley as Nancy’s abusive boyfriend Bill Sikes. Oliver! opened, with the West End’s largest-ever advance of £15 million, on 14 January 2009 (previews from 12 December) and is currently booking through to 26 February 2011. Its three wins in the 2010 Whatsonstage.com Awards including Best Musical Revival.

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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.