BWW Interview: Christie Brinkley of CHICAGO at The Venetian Theater In The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley heard the call of Broadway again when she joins the national tour of the Tony Award-winning hit musical Chicago as Roxie Hart. Her next stop, after Phoenix, is Las Vegas for a limited seven-show engagement at The Venetian Theatre in The Venetian Resort Las Vegas from April 10-14.
Brinkley made her Broadway stage debut in 2010 as the merry murderess. Audiences were amazed at her command of the stage as she sang and danced into their hearts. She was asked to reprise the role in London's West End and again in 2012 with a return engagement on Broadway. BroadwayWorld.com caught up with her about performing on stage and conquering a very intricate role.
What was your reaction when you were first asked to perform in Chicago?
Christie Brinkley: When I was first approached, my agent was so nonchalant about it and told me I didn't have the time to consider the role. I didn't believe him at first. I love Chicago, and I couldn't believe I was being asked to perform in a very hot, sexy play. After he convinced him the offer was real, I still insisted on an audition. If the producers still wanted me after the audition, then I was going to think about it.
But I really thought that this experience would become one of my stories I would tell to my grandchildren. I would have them gather around and tell them about the time I auditioned for a Broadway play and that would be it.
But then I was offered the part.
You actually embraced the challenge of appearing on Broadway in musical theater in one of the lead roles. What did you do to prepare for the role?
Christie Brinkley: At first, I thought that I don't sing or dance so how am I going to do this? I don't even really act. Everyone had faith in me that with hard work, I would get it. My coaches and teachers did work with me, and they are amazing. I also got the background on the play. The songs were tailored for Gwen Verdon, who didn't have an extensive vocal range. There were really only a couple of notes that I had to focus on to reach and push out. My vocal coach helped me access my voice, and I am able to sing the songs.
I worked 10-hour days every day for a month. I would wake up in the middle of the night practicing a move or note. I wanted to make this happen and it did.
What did you feel during your very first night appearing on Broadway?
Christie Brinkley: It was just amazing. One of the things about that night that surprised me was that I was so excited, but I wasn't nervous. I felt it was Roxie Hart going on stage, not me.
However, there was a crisis also on your opening night.
Christie Brinkley: My mother had a heart attack on opening night. As the ambulance was taking her to the hospital, she was telling my dad that he had to go to the show and be there for me. It was quite emotional. I knew something was up but I didn't know and I had to vanish into my character. My family was seated in the back for wheelchair access so I couldn't see that she wasn't there.
How did your children feel about you performing on Broadway?
Christie Brinkley: My kids were sitting in the front, and my son, in particular, was very worried about me performing this role. After the performance, they were all so proud of me, and the look on their faces said it all. I was just a basket case. I was then surprised when Alexia came on stage to give me roses. It was unbelievable, incredibly amazing to share this with my family.
Now the challenge is intensified joining the touring company. You have to travel to different cities and perform in various theaters.
Christie Brinkley: When I can to the end of my first run, singing "Nowadays" I was also thinking about the Billy Joel song, "This is the Time" talking about "These are the days to hold on to because they will not last forever." Then I was offered the role in the West End. That was a huge experience, and then I thought it was over. I was then approached to headline the national tour. I just couldn't believe that I get to play this role in so many different places.
There is a life-affirming, full circle moment that came for you performing in this play.
Christie Brinkley: It happened when I walked into the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, which is so gorgeous. As a kid, I attended the Academy Awards with my parents when it was held there. I got lost leaving the ladies room going back to the theater, and Cary Grant helped me find my parents. I realized that I left California to become a painter in Paris, and now I am coming back as the star of Chicago. To really add to this, Kim Basinger came to see me perform and I just love her. This takes my breath away.
How do you feel about performing in Las Vegas?
Christie Brinkley: Well, this is something. I had an epiphany moment when I saw my name on the marquee. I had to ask myself how did my winding, twisting road of life lead me here? I am performing on the Strip, and my name is in lights. I wanted everyone to stop and look. It's me!
Immediately following the Las Vegas engagement, Brinkley will continue her role in Chicago on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre April 18 to May 12.
Chicago debuted in 1975, choreographed by Bob Fosse, and closed in 1977. Chicago debuted in the West End in 1979 running for 600 performances. In 1996, Chicago was revived on Broadway and now holds the record as the longest-running musical revival as well as the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It is the second longest-running show in Broadway history with The Phantom of the Opera as the longest-running show.
Christie Brinkley will perform as Roxie Hart in Chicago for a limited seven-show engagement at The Venetian Theatre in The Venetian Resort Las Vegas from April 10-14. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. every night with additional matinee shows at 2 p.m. on April 13 and April 14.
Tickets for the engagement at The Venetian Theatre start at $75, plus applicable fees, and are available at by calling (702) 414.9000 in person at The Venetian Resort box offices, or online at venetian.com.