Farewell To CHICAGO: Star Tiffany Graves Tells Us Her Favourite Memories!
These might not be the same favourite memories of any other cast members - but they are all the things I hold near, and dear to my heart...so, in no particular order...
1. Many years ago, when i was kicking my lallies as Mona in the ensemble, the lovely late Sacha Distel joined the cast as Billy Flynn. In a press call, I was asked some random questions. That Sunday, I bought The Times to discover my name printed in the quotes of the week - just above Brad Pitt's quote. It said how I was very much looking forward to joining Sacha on his yacht in St Tropez as he had invited a few of us down for a holiday. I had said no such thing but was thrilled to be on top of Brad!
2. Being Velma when the show celebrated its fifth Anniversary and when the film came out. Was ace to meet Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. She was stupidly skinny. It was a great party, huge honour and an amazing night.
3. Lipgloss. We wore tons of the stuff - all from Mac and really sticky. I remember Linzi Hateley crossing herself when doing her Hail Marys in the scene after cell block and she knocked her chin and hit her mouth, splodging a tiny amount on her cheek. However, she knew she had done it so persisted in trying to wipe it away, thus covering her face in red gloss. Very funny. Gaby Roslin (who was playing Mama Morton) and I had to hold back the giggles. A lot.
4. Can I just say how utterly amazing Linzi Hateley was as Roxie? She was brilliant to work with, a true pro and I learnt a ridiculous amount from her. Talented and lovely - what this lady doesn't know about this business called show ain't worth knowing, really!
5. The celebs - all great fun to work with and great sports. Peter Davison sang the theme tune to 'Button Moon' to me (yay!) and it was surreal playing Family Fortunes with the marvellous Les Dennis backstage. Top blokes.
6. You always lose weight being in Chicago! It's insane and really quite fabulous to lose weight and still eat like a pig. Thank you, Fosse. There should be a Fosse diet. It works!
7. Last matinee gags - too many to mention, all brilliant. Special mention to Charles Shirvell who was my first Mary: he wore a backless evening dress for his last matinee and never turned his back on the audience because it really was backless. Completely. The band guffawed an awful lot.
8. Backstage silliness. After the Hunyak hanging, the guy playing Aaron - gosh, I hope that's the right name - says a short speech, goes off stage right, runs round the back and re-enters stage left soon after. At the Cambridge, we set up an assault course for him to cross every night before he could go past. It usually consisted of the backstage bench, us in silly positions and the exercise balls. Am I spoiling the magic?
9. The advertising campaigns. I was photographed by Uli Webber, who photographs models in Vogue. I was in three bus campaigns, two tube campaigns and am still outside the theatre on Broadway. I mean, really - how exciting is that? Amazing stuff and the closest to being a model I will ever get.
10. Performing All that Jazz on Strictly Come Dancing. What an honour. And, in the show, it's such a great first entrance.
I feel very lucky to have spent so much time with this show. It was my first West End show when I was in the ensemble. I went on to cover and play Roxie on many occasions and later returned to play Velma...and returned to play Velma...and returned...and returned.
I shall miss it. I guess I'll go now...but not quietly.