Five Burning Questions with Chicago Headliner Rumer Willis
September 30th, 2015
by Josh Ferri
Rumer Willis is sizzling hot as jazz-era murderess Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of Chicago. After winning season 20 of Dancing with the Stars (and winning hearts with roles in House Bunny, The Odd Way Home and Pretty Little Liars), Willis makes her Broadway debut singing, dancing and killing Fred Casely in the iconic revival. BroadwayBox caught up the Hollywood starlet about bringing it on Broadway and shedding her inner Velma.
1. If you had to describe your Roxie Hart in a single hashtag, what is she?
I would say she’s #SassyButClassy
2. What was the most surprising part of Chicago rehearsal for you?
I have always found myself to be a bit more of a Velma but during the process of rehearsal—really finding out more about Roxie and getting into the character—I actually realized I’m more like Roxie. I find her so endearing. I think people can look at her like she’s naïve or a dumb blonde but she’s quite ingenious. She constantly thinks on her feet and she’s an eternal optimist—she doesn't even let going to jail bring her down. She’s always fighting and searching for the next solution, and I think that's a great quality.
3. What was your first introduction to musicals and Broadway?
I grew up watching musicals. I loved Bye Bye Birdie, the movie. I love Ann Margaret—she’s everything. And actually, Chicago was one of the first musicals I saw live.
4. What is your pre-show process like? Is there something you have to have in your dressing room?
Putting on the wardrobe and the wig really helps me put the whole picture together. The first time I got into it, I immediately felt like her—it was so cool. As for the dressing room, I really like Gummy Bears, but it's not the best thing to have before you sing.
5. What’s the best piece of advice you've received about making your Broadway debut?
You can’t be afraid to mess up or try something. This is the place to go big. I think in a lot of other forms of acting, it is easy to slip by sometimes without all of the talent and gusto; but when you’re standing on stage doing a two-page monologue by yourself, you have to give everything you have and connect with the people sitting in front of you. That’s one of the beautiful things about Broadway—you can’t stand on the stage eight-shows-a-week if you don't bring it.
Hurry over to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre before November 1 to see Rumer Willis bring it as Roxie Hart.