Chicago Lures Lawless To Two Roles in Musical
Sunday Star Times 30 June 2013

LUCY LAWLESS will play two different roles in twin productions of the musical Chicago being staged 10,500km apart.

The Kiwi screen star - who earned worldwide fame and adulation for her role in Xena: Warrior Princess - has been confirmed to play the role of Velma Kelly in the Auckland Theatre Company's adaptation of the musical in November.

And next month she will play the role of Mama Morton in a three night season of Chicago at Los Angeles' world-famous Hollywood Bowl. The cast includes Anna Paquin's husband Stephen Moyer.

''I think it will be very helpful as I will be hearing the role that I will be doing later. I will be hearing other people do it,'' Lawless told the Sunday Star-Times. ''It is only like a baseline, it is not like you are learning someone else's performance because Michael's production wouldn't allow that.

''But to hear the rhythm of the dialogue, it gets in your bones and it becomes much easier.

''I am very lucky that what I am doing in July will feed into the groundwork for [the Auckland Theatre Company production].''

Hollywood A-lister Catherine Zeta-Jones was Velma Kelly in the 2002 big-screen adaptation of Chicago, and Lawless said it was ''fantastic'' to be cast in the role.

But she said her portrayal of the character, and the ATC production, would take Chicago to new levels.

''This is an entirely new [production] . . . it is cross-bred with The Sopranos. It has a much more gritty, modern sensibility, but still with all that glitz. It revels in its own tawdriness.

sundaytimes''It is about defiling all the sacred cows, that is about what this show is about. It is quite adult as well. If you want to come for the old-fashioned show, your senses are going to be rocked. It is a hardcore Chicago . . . it is a bada bing Chicago.''

Lawless flies out to America this week to prepare for that role.

She said it would be an honour to perform at the amphitheatre.

''I could not believe that they had cast Lucy from New Zealand in this iconic musical, a classical American art form, on a hallowed stage like the Hollywood Bowl and they let me [be involved],'' she said. ''I didn't dare hope it would happen, and it bloody did. I am beyond excited.''

She described musicals as being ''the height of romance''.

'''When you do musicals, every single night you are transported back to being 15 and madly in love, when anything can happen, the lights are sparkling, the music is beautiful and you are singing with someone unbelievably talented and it is like being in love for the first time.''

- Click here for more on Lucy's role as Velma Kelly in the Auckland Theatre Company Production of Chicago The Musical

- Click here for more on Lucy's role as Mama Morton in the Hollywood Bowl Production of Chicago The Musical