BWW Interview: Todrick Hall of CHICAGO at Fisher Theatre says It's a Must-See Musical that People Should Experience Live!
Get ready for that razzle-dazzle Detroit, you are in for a special treat - Chicago is back in the Motor City from October 16th through the 21st at the Fisher Theatre! It is the story of Roxie Hart, housewife and nightclub dancer, who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she tricks the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer, Billy Flynn, to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines. And Detroit, there's an extra special surprise in store for us - Youtube sensation and Broadway star, Todrick Hall is reprising the role of Billy Flynn here in Detroit for one week only! BroadwayWorld Detroit had a chance to speak with Todrick Hall about stepping back into the world of Chicago, what he loves about theatre, and what's next for him. Plus, he even answered some questions that were tweeted in to us (@BWW_Detroit) by some of his very loyal fans. Check out what Todrick had to say below!
BroadwayWorld Detroit: How do you describe yourself in a few words?
Todrick Hall: I'm an entertainment unicorn. I do so many different things. I love to write and create, but I also sing, dance, and act. I'm a choreographer. I love to design costumes. Anything that has to do with this industry is what I love. And I wake up every morning and know that this is exactly what I was put on this earth to do.
BWW Detroit: How would you describe Chicago in your own words?
Todrick Hall: Chicago is hilariously morbid. I never would have thought that I would have loved a musical about two people that have murdered someone and be rooting for them to be exonerated for their horrible, heinous crimes, but for some reason you fall in love with these characters. You are rooting for them even though you know good and well that they are lying, manipulative people who should definitely be locked behind bars because of the potential that they will do it again. And what type of crooked person is Billy Flynn that he would help these people get off? I don't know if Billy Flynn is evil, but he's definitely willing to do some suspect and questionable things in order to make a dollar.
BWW Detroit: You already said you don't know if Billy Flynn is evil. What is your take on Billy Flynn? How do you describe him?
Todrick Hall: I feel like my version of Billy Flynn is somebody that I equate to who was raised in a very urban community that had to struggle a lot to be able to be successful and his street smarts are what actually help him navigate through the real political world. I don't think that it can be taught to be a master manipulator, I think you have to possess that skill as a child, same thing as a con artist or a scam artist, but it's legal for you to do it, and I think he's that type of person. That's who Billy Flynn is to me. He's somebody who is rough around the edges, but he's learned how to basically cat fish the world, dress up and disguise himself in a suit, and tell you things and make you believe things that you know and could probably see with your own eyes aren't real.
BWW Detroit: Our first fan twitter question comes from Holly L. Governall, "After playing Billy Flynn on Broadway, are you going to take a different approach with the character this time?"
Todrick Hall: When I did my Straight Out of Oz Tour for the first time I was really comfortable I thought with doing the show. Then I got a chance to take a break from doing the character I created, which was basically just a theatrical version of myself. I feel like I came back the next year, I did the tour again, and the songs meant so much more to me. I felt like I became that character. I think that is the same thing with any role. Now that I have been away from the show, gone back, and watched it a few times - not only here on Broadway, but also on the West End - there are certain things or lines that I was like I didn't really milk that line as much as it could have possibly been milked, I think I could have done it slightly different or put a slightly different finesse on it to really get it across to the audience. I'm really excited to find new moments with the show and with this new awesome cast.
BWW Detroit: Our next fan twitter question is from Kelz, "Would you ever put Straight Outta Oz or Forbidden to Broadway if you had the chance?"
Todrick Hall: Right now, there's a possibility. I have Broadway producers that are talking to me about the possibility of bringing something to life, whether it's an existing work or new piece of work. I have ideas of things that I want to do and it's too premature to announce, but I definitely think an original Todrick Hall Broadway show is going to happen and I'm really, really excited. I've been going through some really dark times - heartache and stuff - and every time I go through these things I just get kind of excited that it's happening because it always inspires me to make such great art. I'm honestly grateful that I'm going through these times, I'm happy that I'm getting the opportunity to perform, and there are so many people around me that are waiting for me to create art because I think that your human experiences are the only way that you can grow and be able to identify with people. When people know that you have been through something that they have went through, they tend to love you more because they realize that you went through it, you got through it, and you came out on the other side bigger and better.
BWW Detroit: How did your special appearance in the Detroit run of Chicago come about?
Todrick Hall: Well the producers reached out to me multiple times and said we would love to have you back in Chicago in any capacity. I generally like to try to do new things as opposed to returning to things that I have already done. If there was something different or if they were reimagining Chicago, it would be different for me, but since it's the same show, the same cast almost, in the same theatre, I didn't really want to return to Broadway. When they gave me this opportunity I was really, really excited! I feel like there is a chance for me to experience Chicago in other capacities even beyond this.
BWW Detroit: Have you experienced Detroit before and do you have any fond memories here?
Todrick Hall: Yes, one of my really good friends, Drew, is from Detroit and his dad is police officer. One of my first ever meet-ups when I was on YouTube was in Detroit. So many cool kids came who ironically have come to every show that I have done. I hope to see them again when I'm in Detroit this time. It was a really, really awesome experience I had there every time. The audiences were electric, so magnetic. I had such a great time performing there and I'm really stoked to do it again.
BWW Detroit: You have such an amazing fan base. How does that feel to have such following that started from YouTube and continues to build on a daily basis due to your talent and their loyalty?
Todrick Hall: It honestly feels very, very, very surreal. I don't even...I can't even fathom the fact that I have 600 million views on YouTube and millions of people following me. It still doesn't register to me sometimes. I just don't how I got to this point, what I did to deserve it, and every day I have moments where I cannot believe that this is my life, that this is something that I get to genuinely experience. And I'm so grateful and I'm so flattered that people have chosen me - to make me a priority in their life. I don't know that I will ever be able to repay these people for allowing me to experience these amazing things I've gotten to experience since I've been on YouTube.
BWW Detroit: Our next fan twitter question is from Leslie Norman, "What is your dream role to play on Broadway?"
Todrick Hall: I would love to be Fiyero in Wicked. I think it would be awesome. They've had a couple African American Fiyero's and I would love to do that role because I'm a humungous Wizard of Oz fan, obviously. I would like to be Simba because it's one of my favorite musicals (Disney's The Lion King.) I think it would be really fun. I would like to play any role in Hamilton as well. I don't know what role. I think when I'm slightly older I would like to play Burr or Jefferson, but just to be a part of something that Lin-Manuel Miranda created would be a dream come true because I just think he is such a genius human. Those are my three dream shows.
BWW Detroit: Our final fan twitter question, and the one with the most fan reactions, is from Lewis Andrews, "When's your next tour, Todrick?"
Todrick Hall: A new tour is not in the works. I do want to put out new music next year, but it's going to be a very different feel from what I've done before, but I'm super excited about it. And I'm just super excited about being creative again.
BWW Detroit: Finally, why should people come see Chicago while it is here in Detroit?
Todrick Hall: I think that Chicago is a must-see musical. It's such a classic, a staple, it's been on Broadway for almost 22 years now, which is not coincidence. It's so well-told. You don't need a lot of flash and pizazz for you to feel the razzle-dazzle that Chicago naturally possesses. It's just such an amazing experience and it's something that anybody who is a theatregoer or that claims to be a musical theatre fan should see multiple times in their life because it's so brilliantly written and directed and Fosse's choreography is so timeless. It's one of the things I'm most proud of that I did because it's one of the first musicals that I saw and people should experience live.
Chicago runs October 16th-21st at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information or tickets, visit www.BroadwayInDetroit.com.