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How stagey are you? Kerry Ellis vs Louise Dearman

For the latest of our theatrical battles, we pit the Wicked witches against each other

Kerry Ellis

'First lady of the West End' Kerry Ellis is known for her numerous musical roles from Wicked to We Will Rock You to My Fair Lady, as well as her solo albums and tours.

Currently playing Grizabella in Cats at the Palladium, she is joining forces with Louise Dearman for a concert at the Prince Edward Theatre in September where they will perform together professionally for the first time.

Louise Dearman

Louise Dearman was the first and only person to play both Elphaba and Glinda in Wicked.

Her other credits have included Joseph, Guys and Dolls, Evita and Waterbabies.

She is soon to appear in the UK tour of The Songbook of Judy Garland, as well as Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman in Concert... Together!.

What was the last show you went to see?

Miss Saigon. We had two weeks off because Comic Relief went into the theatre. A lot of people did it when I did it a while ago, Jon Jon Briones especially, so I wanted to go and support them and see it. I loved it. 1

Oklahoma! on tour in Northampton. I went to see my friend Nic Greenshields who was fantastic. The show was really good, a lot of talent on the stage. 1

How many showtunes do you have on your iPod and what is your favourite?

I normally have showtunes on my iPod if I'm learning something so I don't necessarily have them on there to listen to unless it's something new that I don't know. Although I've got Next To Normal on there at the moment which is interesting, I really like it. 0

I have to say, embarrassing as it is, I don't have many showtunes. What I have now and I'm listening to a lot are the old Judy Garland movie musicals because I'm doing the tour. Unless I'm learning something specifically, it's cheesy pop really! 0

What is the stagiest gift you've ever received from a fan?

I got given Barbra Streisand tickets once, I think it was at the O2. It was the best thing, it was amazing – a very extravagant gift but that was probably the best one. 2 [Bonus point needed; we want fans like yours]

I've received lots of amazing gifts. I think pictures of yourself, because you think oh my gosh, they've really gone to the time and effort to draw or paint you. I keep them all, I have two huge boxes in my loft (one with Glinda stuff and one with Elphaba stuff). 1

Who is the stagiest contact you have in your phone?

There's a few. Brian [May], obviously, because we speak quite a lot. Jason Donovan, Lorna Luft. Who else? Alfie Boe… there's a few! 2 [Bonus point for extra staginess]

Kerry Ellis is pretty stagey! And Michael Ball is probably the king of stagey. 1

Cats or dogs?

This is a tricky one because I have a dog and I've had dogs all my life but now I'm in Cats obviously it's changed my view. I've even considered getting one because I've loved being part of the show, it's just been fantastic and a bit of a dream. It's tough, I'm on the fence. 0

Dogs. Cats the musical I love, but dogs. I have two little dogs and I'm quite obsessed – I will chase someone down the street if I see a beautiful dog. 0

Elphaba or Glinda?

I have to say Elphaba. However, I love the character of Glinda, she makes me laugh and I also love the people that have played it. I got to sing with Kristin Chenoweth who was just a dream, and I've never done it with Lou but she's hysterical, and Savannah and my dear friend Dianne Pilkington. But it would have to be Elphaba. 1

I can't choose! It depends what mood I'm in. It was lovely playing Glinda because of all the quirky, comedy, glamourous side of her but with Elphaba I loved the whole transformation and of course singing those huge songs. I'm lucky I've done both. 1

What's your karaoke song?

I'm like the worst, I hate it and I never do it. If I'm out and I've had a drink the last thing I want to do is sing. Also, karaoke is funny and they don't want people to stand up and be good. So I don't have one. 0

I'm terrified of karaoke, I'm not going to lie. If anyone mentions that we're going to karaoke I probably won't go because if you're a singer your friends just want you to get up and sing and as a performer you want to always do your best when you perform. After a couple of wines I lose all pitch so I try and steer clear of karaoke. 0

How many of the Strallen sisters can you name?

I've worked with most of them so I should know them all! Scarlett I spent some time with in New York because she was doing Mary Poppins when I was doing Elphaba and we became quite close friends. She's adorable, I love her. Summer I worked with over Christmas, again just gorgeous. They're an incredibly talented family. Zizi I just did Cats with. Bonnie is doesn't really count but she's of the family. And I recently met their mum who was just lovely. I know their dad Sandy. I don't know the youngest one, I've never worked with her yet, but I'm sure I will at some point. 1.5 [-0.5 for not knowing Sasi, but bonus point for knowing the parents]

Summer, Scarlett, Zizi and Sasi. Lovely girls, what a talented family! 1

What is your favourite musical?

I think it would have to be My Fair Lady – not just because I was in it but because it's such a phenomenal show, it's got a real rags to riches story. It gives you everything you want in a musical; the songs are timeless, the orchestrations are beautiful. It's always a winner for me, gives you the price of your ticket kind of thing. 1

Guys and Dolls, probably, because I think it has every element right. It's got the brilliant showstopping songs, it's funny, it's moving, it's got a bit of everything. The Donmar Warehouse production I was in I just thought was so classy and such a spectacular show. 1

Who is your dream dinner date?

I think (apart from Louise Dearman, obviously) Elvis. I heard a clip of him singing the other day when he was really young and it just reminded me of how magical he was and how much charisma he had. He was just brilliant. 0

Probably Judy Garland, because there would be a million questions to ask and to be in her presence would be pretty special. 1

And the winner is...


Kerry wins this theatrical battle, but is pipped to the top spot in our stagey league table by Jenna Russell, who seems to be unbeatable.


Just behind Kerry with a respectable stagey score of 7, Louise was let down by her love of dogs. Solid Strallen knowledge, though.

Stagey League Table

1. Jenna Russell

9 points

2. Kerry Ellis

8.5 points

=3. Gerard McCarthy

8 points

=3. Michael Xavier

8 points

5. Louise Dearman

7 points

6. Charlie Brooks

6.5 points

7. Catrin Stewart

6 points

8. Matthew Kelly

4 points