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The West End Men - Lee Mead and Kerry Ellis star

Lee Mead

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

LEE Mead will be joined by special guest star Kerry Ellis when The West End Men come(s) to the Vaudeville Theatre for a limited four week season – from June 3 (previews from May 25) to June 22, 2013.

The West End Men features songs from the West End, Broadway and Beyond in ‘breathtaking theatrical style’, backed by a full live band and choir. Described as an intimate production, it promises to take audiences on a journey to the very heart of the West End and its leading men.

Lee Mead was already a successful West End performer when he won Any Dream Will Do, the BBC’s search for a lead for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then, he has appeared as Fiyero in Wicked, Emmett in Legally Blonde The Musical and the title role in the national tour of Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime.

In 2008, Mead performed All I Ask Of You in Hyde Park to celebrate Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 60th Birthday celebrations. During the following year, he joined a host of singers at Abbey Road Studios to record All You Need Is Love in support Children in Need. He has also toured the UK with his own show An Evening with Lee Mead and last year toured with his band for two months, releasing a new album in February 2012.

Kerry Ellis originated the role of Meat in We Will Rock You and was the first British Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked, winning the 2008 Whatsonstage.com Award for ‘Best Takeover in a Role’. She subsequently transferred to Broadway, playing Elphaba at the Gershwin Theater for six months and winning the Broadway.com Audience Award for Favourite Female Breakthrough Performance. In 2009, she returned to London for another six month stint in the role.

Her many other leading roles include Nancy in Oliver! (London Palladium), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Ellen in Miss Saigon and Fantine in Les Miserables.

Her first major CD release was Wicked in Rock, which is still in the Dress Circle’s bestseller list. A collaboration with long-time friend and Queen guitarist, Brian May, it led to her being signed to Universal as a solo recording artist and her debut album Anthems was released in 2010 on Decca Records. The success of the album, which reached No.15 in the UK album chart and No.10 in the UK pop club charts (for Defying Gravity), led to a major tour of Anthems: The Concert throughout 2011.

As well as playing Svetlana to critical acclaim in Chess at the Royal Albert Hall opposite Idina Menzel and Josh Groban and taking part in Thank You For The Music, the BBC Radio 2 ABBA concert in Hyde Park, and Night of 1000 Voices and The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, Ellis was also in the award-winning film Les Miserables and starred the arena tour of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds alongside Jason Donovan and Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs.

The West End Men is directed by renowned director Mitch Sebastian, who was recently described by Time Out as being “the future of British Musical Theatre”. He has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for a body of work that includes the phenomenally successful and Olivier Award-nominated The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas, which has enjoyed numerous runs in the West End and across the world, including North America.

The West End Men is produced by Milton Morrissey Ltd and Jason Haigh Ellery, in association with Paul Tyrer and Jamie Clark for The Booking Office. Further casting will be announced shortly.

Tickets: £20 – £47.50 – available from the box office on 0844 412 4663 or online at www.nimaxtheatres.com/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 8pm; Saturday matinee at 3pm; Press Night (June 3) at 7pm.

NB: Kerry Ellis will be performing selected dates during the run.

Graham Linehan’s new adaption of the celebrated Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers, follows The West End Men at the Vaudeville Theatre.