Van Outen Extends Limited Chicago Run to 15 SepDate: 6 July 2001
Producers of Chicago today confirmed that former Big Breakfast television presenter Denise Van Outen will extend her run in the hit West End musical. Van Outen took over on 17 April as murderess Roxie Hart for a "strictly limited" 16-week season, which was due to end on 4 August. She will now remain in the show at the Adelphi Theatre until Saturday 15 September 2001.
The casting decision was greeted with considerable cynicism when it was first announced, but Van Outen disproved her critics by winning laudable reviews. Previously, Van Outen was best known for her brash manner, blonde hair and on-screen flirtation with former Big Breakfast co-presenter Johnny Vaughan. Following her departure from the morning show, she hosted a saucy, Friday late-night show called Something for the Weekend.
Van Outen's stage credits include A Slice of Saturday Night, Les Miserables, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Stop the World. On film, she has appeared in the Brit gangster flick Love, Honour and Obey, while her recordings have included the Children in Need single "Especially for You" (which she sang with Vaughan) and a rendition of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" for an Abba Mania album.
Also in the current Chicago cast are Leigh Zimmerman (as Velma Kelly), Michael Simkins (Billy Flynn) and Barry James (Amos Hart). Former Yazoo lead singer Alison Moyet joins the cast as Mama Morton from 13 August.
Chicago, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington and sound by Rick Clarke. Musical supervision is by Rob Fisher and musical direction by Robert Purvis. The production is choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and directed by Walter Bobbie.
The musical opened at the Adelphi in November 1997 and went on to win the 1998 Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production and the 1998 Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.
- by Terri Paddock