Brinkley Models Roxie, Carley Stenson Plays Elle
As previously tipped, Brinkley, who has starring as Roxie Hart for an 11-week stint in the show's Broadway production from 8 April 2011, will take up the role at the Cambridge Theatre alongside current Broadway co-star Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly.
Brinkley, who is the ex-wife of Billy Joel and has modelled on the cover of over 500 magazines, is making her New York theatre debut in the production at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Her previous acting appearances have included the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation and its 1997 sequel Vegas Vacation.
She was also famously Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" as well as making appearances in videos for his songs "Keeping the Faith" and "All About Soul". Brinkley's career has spanned work as an artist, writer, photographer and designer, in addition, she is a philanthropist and environmental and political activist.
The current revival of Chicago opened at the Cambridge Theatre (where the musical’s original London production ran for 603 performances from April 1979) on 28 April 2006, after eight-and-a-half years at the Adelphi Theatre. It won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical.
Since the show opened, stars including Maria Friedman, Josefina Gabrielle, Denise Van Outen, Claire Sweeney, Linzi Hateley, Frances Ruffelle, Rebecca Thornhill, Jennifer Ellison, Jill Halfpenny, Brooke Shields, Sally Ann Triplett, Bonnie Langford, Tina Arena, Ashlee Simpson, Aoife Mulholland and Michelle Williams have all played the role of Roxie Hart.
The role of silver-tongued lawyer Billy Flynn has been played by David Hasselhoff, John Barrowman, Jerry Springer and, until recently, David Bedella.
Kander and Ebb’s 1975 musical is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The current production, which transferred from Broadway, is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse.
Producers are hopeful that the show's "record-breaking 14-year run in the West End will continue" in another London theatre.
Carley Stenson will takeover the role of Elle Woods from Susan McFadden in the West End production of Legally Blonde from 11 July 2011. Stenson, who currently plays Margot in the show, takes the show's leading role alongside Lee Mead (who replaces longstanding Emmett, Alex Gaumond in the show from 20 June) and Natalie Casey as beautician Paulette.
The part of Elle Woods, the sorority girl who puts down the credit card and hits the books, was originated in the West End by Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith, with McFadden stepping into the role from 10 January 2011.
Stenson, who made her West End stage debut as Margot in the musical, is best known for playing Steph Cunningham in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, a role she played for over ten years. Her other theatre credits include Sandy in Grease, Dulcie in The Boyfriend and Nancy in Oliver.
Legally Blonde The Musical picked up four gongs at the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, including Best New Musical. Nominated for five Olivier Awards it went on to win the prize for Best New Musical, with Jill Halfpenny winning the Best Supporting Role in a Musical prize in addition to Sheridan Smith's Best Actress in a Musical gong.
Based on the 2001 Hollywood film in which Reese Witherspoon played California sorority girl Elle Woods, the show is directed by Tony Award-winning and Olivier Award-nominated choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Having opened on Broadway in 2007 the musical comedy opened at the Savoy Theatre on 13 January 2010 (previews from 5 December 2009).
Casting was last week announced for the national tour of Legally Blonde which launches from the Liverpool Empire on 8 July and plays dates in Bristol, York, Glasgow, Stoke, Birmingham, Manchester, Torquay, Nottingham and Sunderland.
Legally Blonde has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke.
It's produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G Bartner, Ambassador Theatre Group, Bud Martin, Adam Zotovich, Jamie Hendry Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions.