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Destiny’s Child Williams Is Chicago’s New Roxie

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Not to be outdone by Jerry Springer, who makes his stage debut playing lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago next week (See News, 17 Feb 2009), music star Michelle Williams, one third of chart-topping female group Destiny’s Child will make her West End debut playing murderess Roxie Hart in the Kander and Ebb musical at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre later this summer.

Williams’ limited stint will run from 13 July to 22 August 2009. Unless Springer extends his contract – and no further Billy has yet been announced - the two American stars will just miss each other. The chat show host is due to perform for six weeks only from 1 June to 11 July.

Williams takes over from How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? finalist Aoife Mulholland, who finishes on 11 July. In other cast movements, Leigh Zimmerman will return to the role of Velma Kelly opposite Springer from 1 June. The production has also extended its schedule by six months at the Cambridge Theatre, where it’s now taking bookings through to 30 October 2010.

A singer, songwriter, record producer and actor, Michelle Williams is best known for Destiny’s Child. Williams became the third member of the R&B trio, alongside Beyoncé Knowles - whose concert tour opened at London's 02 Centre this week - and Kelly Rowland, in 2000. After the women went solo in 2002, Williams released her own debut album and went on to make her Broadway debut in the title role of Disney musical Aida and star in the musical version of The Color Purple in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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.

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.

- by Terri Paddock


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