The Tony Award-winning musical, “Chicago”, has held its spot on the Great White Way since 1996, when it opened at the Richard Rogers Theatre. From there, the show moved to the Shubert Theatre in 1997, and then to the Ambassador Theatre in 2003, where it has remained. The current Broadway cast of “Chicago” includes Amy Spanger, Amra-Faye Wright, Cory English, and Carol Woods.
Joining this all-star cast this past weekend in New York was country artist and celebrity dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. Cyrus is very excited to be taking on the role of Billy Flynn, the “silver-tongued prince of the courtroom,” as described by BroadwayWorld.com.
Cyrus has been focusing mainly on his music career recently, preparing to release his latest album, titled Change My Heart. He released an album last year, I’m American with his TV show “Surprise Homecoming” on TLC. Since his first album released in 1992, Cyrus has produced 11 albums, earning almost 30 chart singles. One of his most popular albums, Some Gave All, spent 43 weeks in the top 10. Cyrus also hosted the “Nashville Star” competition, and competed in the 2007 season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
As for his Broadway debut, Cyrus will be playing a limited engagement for seven weeks, through December 23. As Cyrus told USA Today, “I love acting, and I’m always up for learning new things.” He is no stranger to acting, having performed in both TV and film with “Doc,” his daughter Miley’s popular Disney television show, “Hannah Montana,” a few Hallmark Christmas movies, and even a Jackie Chan action-comedy, The Spy Next Door. A few years ago Cyrus also performed in “Annie Get Your Gun” in Toronto.
With Bob Fosse-style choreography and popular songs such as “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango,” “Chicago” is a huge hit on the New York stage. The musical tells the story of how show business and the media make criminals into celebrities. Before speaking with the producers of “Chicago” last year, Cyrus had never seen the film or stage version of the musical.
Cyrus now feels ready to take on the character of Billy Flynn. Upon checking out John O’Hurley’s performance on Broadway, Cyrus said “I fell in love with this character.” He loves that Flynn has a lot of heart and soul, but also an agenda. “I like that contradiction,” according to Elysa Gardner of USA Today.
Cyrus plans to take a little bit of the character from O’Hurley, as well as from Richard Gere’s film adaptation. Cyrus is looking forward to being challenged with the character. “It turns me on to do things where I can grow as an actor, as a singer, as a songwriter, as a musician,” he told Mark Kennedy in an interview with Boston.com.
Once his limited engagement in “Chicago” is over, Cyrus plans to move on with his music career. He is planning another world tour to promote his latest album, and an autobiography, titled Hillbilly Heart, which is expected to reach book stores in April.