Chicago the musical in Dubai

Broadway star Anne Horak talks playing Roxie ahead of the show’s 16 night run in Dubai

Star of musical Chicago Anne Horak talks about playing Roxie ahead of the show’s run in Dubai.

With crimes of passion, celebrity culture and the Jazz Age all featuring, it doesn’t come as much of surprise that Chicago is one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time. Ahead of its run of 20 performances here in Dubai, its star, Anne Horak, who plays the part of Roxie Hart, talks about why she thinks the prohibition-era narrative still resonates with audiences today and how she relates to her character.

What is your usual routine before a performance?
I get to the theatre, throw some curlers in my hair, do my make-up, go back to hair for the full styling (I use my own hair in the show), get into costume, warm-up and stretch and I am good to go!

Do you find it easy to relate to your lead character Roxie and overall what is your opinion about her?
I think there is a part of all of us that can relate to Roxie. People in general are intrigued by the concept of celebrity. Although I would not go to the lengths that Roxie Hart would go to achieve her goals, I think we can all relate to her sense of dreams and aspirations.

With prohibition and the glamour of the Jazz Age, Chicago in the 1920s is regarded as a classic era. Would you like to have been alive in those times and if you had a day in 1920s Chicago, what would you do?
Although it was quite an exciting time in American history, I’m not sure I would have necessarily wanted to live then. If I had to go back, I’d love to go dancing in a speakeasy [a prohibition bar]. That sounds like a fun experience to me.

With Roxie’s obsession with celebrity and the fleeting nature of her fame, do you think it’s something that has a resonance with today’s celebrity culture?
Absolutely – just look at YouTube, reality TV and all the people who want to be famous solely for the notion of celebrity. It’s definitely relevant in today’s culture.

Do you think that your character Roxie is manipulative or do you think she’s naive?
Both – while she is not a seasoned pro like [the character] Velma Kelly and definitely exudes a naiveté, she is also smart and cunning though.

Chicago has a grisly plot, with murders and sensation. Why do you think audiences are fascinated by the darker elements of society?
I think there’s a fascination with human behaviour and imagining what could drive someone to do bad things.

You’ve appeared in CBS’ A Gifted Man – how does acting on TV compare to live performance and do you prefer a particular medium?
Television acting is definitely more subtle. One shift of your eyes, and the scene can take a completely different connotation. But I really love both mediums equally.

Why do you think Chicago has enjoyed the success and longevity it has?
It’s extremely well-written, and add in an amazing score by John Kander and Fred Ebb along with the Bob Fosse choreography, and you’ve got a hit.

Do you have a favourite number in the show and if so what is it and why?
The ‘Press Conference Rag’ might be my favourite number in the show. It’s always a crowd pleaser.
Tickets from Dhs245-2,295. Thursday December 19-Friday January 3. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 457 3212).

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