[PERFORMER PROFILE] Ruthie Henshall Profile

Ruthie Henshall was born in Bromley (in Kent) in March 1967. She was christened Valentine Ruth Henshall.

Before becoming an Olivier Award nominated actress, Ruthie Henshall dreamt of becoming a ballet dancer. And although her childhood dream remains unfulfilled, it seems like fate has found a different way to make it come true as she takes the role of Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Having studied at the world famous Laine Arts School, Ruthie made her West End debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats.

With a quick look at the roles she has played, it's easy to see that fate has played a trick on her. One of her earlier theatre roles is Maggie, one of the auditioning Broadway dancers in the touring production of what is considered as one of the longest-running productions in Broadway history, A Chorus Line, recently playing an extended run at the London Palladium.

In 1995, she won the coveted Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Amalia Balash in She Love Me.

This was followed with a casting as one of the hip-swaying bar girls of Miss Saigon in its original staging at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. For its 25th anniversary, Miss Saigon has taken over the Prince Edward Theatre, where it also welcomed its new cast. She initially understudied and then took over the role of Ellen.

Of course, there's her role as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago which played at the Adelphi Theatre, Ambassador Theatre, and Cambridge Theatre. She received an Olivier Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. This is a role which also took Ruthie to Broadway.

And now, following the announcement of Billy Elliot the Musical taking the West End stage for its 9th anniversary, Ruthie Henshall once again gets a chance to step into her dancing shoes as she takes over the role of Billy Elliott's dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson.

The role was formerly played by Julie Walters in the original film directed by Stephen Daldry and by Haydn Gwynne in the original theatre production of Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The beloved musical seen by nearly 10 million theatre enthusiasts is a multi-awarded show—well reviewed by critics worldwide—taking home several Olivier awards, which included the covetable Best New Musical.

Starting 12 May, you can catch Ruthie Henshall and the rest of the stellar cast of Billy Elliot The Musical including newcomers 11-year old Matteo Zecca as the new Billy and 10-year old Kyria Cooper as Debbie.

Billy Elliot The Musical is now playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre until 16 May 2015.

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