R&B superstar Usher will soon be crooning a Broadway melody. The multi-platinum recording artist and five-time Grammy winner will take over the role of conniving lawyer Billy Flynn in the long-running musical revival “Chicago,” making his Broadway debut, producers Barry and Fran Weissler announced today (July 14).
“I have always admired Broadway actors for their showmanship, dedication and focus that goes into performing live on stage every night,” the 27-year-old Usher said in a statement. “Being on Broadway allows you to connect to audiences in a whole new way that’s different from music and movies.” The artist opens Aug. 22 in “Chicago” and will appear through Oct. 1.
While “Chicago” will mark his Broadway debut, Usher has acted in TV shows and several films, including last year’s “In the Mix.”
“Chicago,” Broadway’s longest running musical revival, has a score by John Kander and Ebb and a book by Bob Fosse and Ebb. The tale of Roxie Hart, a has-been chorus cutie who murders her boyfriend and tries to ride the notoriety to show-biz fame and fortune, originally was seen on Broadway in 1975.
Barry Weissler has developed the replacement strategy for his long-running shows, including “Grease” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” into a fine art. In “Chicago,” its morally relaxed heroine has been played by such diverse actresses as Brooke Shields, Melanie Griffith, Sandy Duncan, Marilu Henner and Rita Wilson.
Among the actors who have played Billy Flynn on Broadway are Huey Lewis, Wayne Brady, Kevin Richardson, George Hamilton, Taye Diggs, Alan Thicke and Billy Zane.
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