Drawing: Ruthie Henshall in Billy Elliot The Musical

Autographed drawing of Ruthie Henshall in Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre on London's West End

Ruthie Henshall’s illustrious theatre career spans four decades, beginning with her West End debut in CATS in 1988, making appearances as Jemima, Demeter, Griddlebone and Grizabella after completing the UK tour of A CHORUS LINE. She is currently back on the London boards in the revival of CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre.

It’s a show she knows well. Having played Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly on a few occasions on the West End and Broadway, she is now the prison warden, Mama Morton, which makes her the only British actress to have played all CHICAGO’s leading female roles. She originated the role of Roxie in the 1997 London production, a performance that earned her one of five Olivier Award nominations. She won two years earlier for her portrayal of Amelia Balash in the revival of SHE LOVES ME.

Prior to this year’s CHICAGO, Ruthie joined the cast of BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL as the straight talking dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson for the last 18 months of it’s eleven year run at the Victoria Palace Theatre. I drew this drawing of her, which she signed for me at the Phoenix stage door on Saturday and remarked on the impressive sweater she got to wear, which, by the way took me longer to render than the rest of the sketch and she said it was and she should have kept it.

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