|Kerry Ellis as Elphaba|
A statement was made earlier today buy WICKED UK announcing that current Wicked West End star Willemijin Verkaik will depart the role of Elphaba earlier than expected, in order to have surgery for an ongoing back condition. Verkaik will play her final performance as Elphaba on July 19th. Verkaik is the only actress to have played the role of Elphaba in three languages, in four different countries. Ellis will return to Wicked in the West End from August 4th to October 25th. As previously announced, Nikki Davis-Jones, currently playing Elphaba on the UK/Ireland tour of Wicked will assume the role at that time. Ellis was the original standby for Elphaba in 2006 when Wicked opened in London, and has played the role full-time in the West End and on Broadway, including Wicked's 5th Anniversary on Broadway in 2008. Best of luck to these two lovely ladies!