Photos: Shields Reveals Vocal Regime for ChicagoDate: 14 April 2005
American screen and stage actress Brooke Shields (pictured) flew into London to meet the press today ahead of taking over as murderess Roxie Hart in Chicago at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre (See News, 6 Apr 2005), where she’ll play a limited season from 26 April to 25 June 2005 (not including 3 to 13 May).
Having already performed in the New York productions of Grease, Cabaret and Wonderful Town, Shields today described making her West End debut as even more thrilling than the “dream come true” of performing on Broadway.
“For us (American actors) to come over here and be welcomed, it is such an honour. When I think of what epitomises theatre, I do think of London, I do think of the West End.” As for the choice of the Kander and Ebb musical in particular, she said, “If you’re given the chance to do something like Chicago, you can’t in your right mind turn it down.”
Like Scottish screen star Ewan McGregor at yesterday’s press conference for Guys and Dolls (See News, 13 Apr 2005), in which he’ll make his musical stage debut in June, Shields spoke extensively about her preparations for the rigours of performing eight shows a week. “The voice is the most difficult part of the whole thing,” she said. “The one thing you can't do ill is sing.”
During her Broadway runs for both Grease and Cabaret, Shields lost her voice so, prior to her last six-month stage stint in Wonderful Town, she became “paranoid” about looking after her voice. In addition to extensive private tuition with a singing coach, her regime included using special warm-up tapes, steaming, gargling, flushing her nasal passages with a saline solution and not speaking during the day before an evening performance.
Having just completed Wonderful Town, Shields feels in peak condition to now take on Chicago. “I’m physically ready for it as far as stamina is concerned,” she said. And she’s got to be first thing. Because of the limited availability of the show’s director and her own outside work commitments, she has just nine days to learn the role of Roxie Hart – a rehearsal period that she views as “borderline criminal”.
Prior to Broadway, Shields became internationally famous for her screen roles, as a teenager in the 1970s and 80s, in the likes of Pretty Baby, Endless Love, King of the Gypsies and The Blue Lagoon. More recently, a guest appearance on Friends led to her own TV sitcom, Suddenly Susan.
- by Terri Paddock
MORE PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S PRESS RECEPTION: