West End musical diva Kerry Ellis will star as Gwendolen, her first non-singing role, at selected venues in the 2018 UK tour of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. She plays the role at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford, Courtyard Theatre Hereford, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Belfast Grand Opera House, Theatre Royal Bath and Manchester Opera House. Hannah Louise Howell will play Gwendolen at all other venues.
They will be joined by Geoff Aymer, Louise Coulthard, Thomas Howes, Peter Sandys-Clarke and Simon Shackleton, playing Chasuble, Cecily, Algernon, Jack and Lane/Merriman respectively. They join the previously announced Gwen Taylor as Lady Bracknell and Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism. The tour will begin on 24 January 2017 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, ending on 28 April in Eastbourne.
Renowned theatre star and recording artist, Kerry Ellis is best known for originating the role of Meat, in Queen’s We Will Rock You and was the first British actress to play Elphaba in Wicked, for which Kerry won the 2008 What’s on Stage Award for ‘Best Takeover in a Role’. She then played the role at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway for six months, where she won the Broadway.com Audience Award for ‘Favourite Female Breakthrough Performance’. Her other West End theatre work includes Sara in Murder Ballad at The Arts Theatre, Nancy in Oliver!, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Ellen in Miss Saigon, Fantine in Les Misérables and she took over from Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella in Cats. Kerry has achieved chart-topping success as a recording artist, releasing four albums and touring the UK and Europe with Brian May of Queen.
Oscar Wilde’s much-loved comedy The Importance of Being Earnest follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen. But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell of his respectability. Wilde’s classic play looks at the clash of town and country in a story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags.
The Importance of Being Earnest will be directed by The Original Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Alastair Whatley, with set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade, sound and music by Giles Thomas and lighting by Alan Valentine. The UK tour is produced by Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company.