The German singer won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Chicago's jailbird murderess Velma Kelly, beating out co-star Ruthie Henshall who played fellow murderess Roxie Hart. She went on last year to play Velma Kelly in the Broadway production of the hit Kander and Ebb revival.
Lemper made her stage debut in the original Vienna production of Cats, but, prior to Chicago, was best-known for her cabaret act, featuring her renditions of various Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf torch songs. She has performed solo shows throughout Europe and North America, and her many solo recordings include 'Ute Lemper Sings Kurt Weill', 'City of Strangers', 'Berlin Cabaret Songs' and, most recently, 'All That Jazz: The Best of Ute Lemper'.
Sir Peter Hall's production of Lenny, starring Eddie Izzard, is currently playing at the Queen's. It finishes its limited run on 16 October and is followed by Ennio Marchetto with his paper and scissors comedy show which will play eight performances only from 18 to 23 October 1999.