Pamela Anderson, best known for playing CJ on TV's Baywatch, makes her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival of Chicago April 12. Anderson, who also produced her own TV series V.I.P., is merry murderess Roxie Hart for an eight-week limited engagement through June 5 at the Ambassador Theatre.
April 12 also marks the return of Lana Gordon (Hadestown, The Lion King) and Drama Desk nominee Ryan Silverman (Side Show, Passion), who step into the roles of Velma Kelly and Billy Flynn, respectively.
Anderson, Gordon, and Silverman all join Tony nominee Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe's Café), who previously played Velma Kelly and now portrays Matron “Mama” Morton; Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart; and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.
The company also includes David Bushman, Jennifer Dunne, Jessica Ernest, Jeff Gorti, Arian Keddell, Mary Claire King, Joseph London, Barrett Martin, Sharon Moore, Drew Nellessen, Celina Nightengale, Brian O'Brien, Denny Paschall, Jermaine R. Rembert, Michael Scirrotto, Christine Cornish Smith, Dani Spieler, and Brian Spitulnik.
"I have always been a huge fan of Bob Fosse's and Gwen Verdon’s work. Ann Reinking, too,” Anderson said in an earlier statement. “Playing Roxie Hart is a dream fulfilled. Performing Fosse, you don’t have time to get in your head. You can’t dance, sing, and think at the same time. There is a freedom, a unique joy in knowing it’s all about the work. Playing Roxie Hart is a sweet escape for me."
The revival of Chicago began life as one of the three annual Encores! presentations offered by City Center. The musical opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in November 14, 1996, where it remained through February 1997. The musical transferred to the Shubert Theatre, and played that house through January 26, 2003. The revival reopened at the Ambassador Theatre January 29 that year.
It is now the second-longest running show in Broadway history (after The Phantom of the Opera). Over the last 25 years, the show has been seen in 36 different countries by 33 million people worldwide.
With a book by the late Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Ebb, Chicago features direction by Walter Bobbie, choreography by the late Ann Reinking, set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design Ken Billington, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and casting by Stewart/Whitley.
The current production, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 as well as awards for actors Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, director Bobbie, lighting designer Billington, and Reinking. The original production was directed and choreographed by the late Fosse.