The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be … Pamela Anderson! On April 12, the Baywatch alum is set to make her Main Stem debut as Roxie Hart in the long-running Broadway hit Chicagoat the Ambassador Theatre. Entertainment journalist Frank DiLella recently caught up with Anderson in between rehearsals to talk about tackling Fosse and more.
You’re in the middle of rehearsals. How are things going?
Amazing! I’m three weeks in. I did two weeks in L.A.; now I’m in my first week in New York. I’m a sponge. I’m soaking it all in and sucking it all up. It just feels meant to be.
I read that you said you’ve been rehearsing your whole life for this moment. How so?
I’ve been doing research my whole life. Ten years ago, Rob Marshall [director/choreographer of the film version of Chicago] came up to me and told me I should be on Broadway, and I laughed. It just wasn’t the right time. My kids were younger. And I needed those last 10 years to grow up a little bit. Now my kids are grown — and they’re my biggest support system. It’s time to do it!
What does Broadway mean to you?
Broadway is the best. It’s the pinnacle of everything — singing, acting, dancing on stage, with that kind of support around you. Fosse! I mean, the dream doesn’t get any bigger.
What’s it been like learning the Fosse dance language?
Well, from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes, you’re engaged. You’re kind of luring people in. It’s not big and bold; it’s very contained. And to learn the choreography next to the people who can really dance and have danced their whole lives, I’m just so lucky to be able to do it.
What’s been the hardest part of this whole process?
You have to be fearless. And I’m fairly fearless. And I’ve had these moments in my life where I’ve just had to jump into something and just believe I can do it, and this feels the same way. You get addicted to this kind of feeling. The role feels parallel to my life, and it’s meant to be. I’m supposed to do this.
You’re stepping into big shoes playing Roxie: Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking, and Liza Minnelli have all played the role.
It’s crazy. But my life has been crazy. I’m going to do it somehow. I’m totally blown away. Because I don’t know what I’m made of, I don’t know what I’m capable of, I haven’t done this before. I want to throw myself into this so hard and go so crazy and not hold anything back.
This score by Kander and Ebb is classic. What’s your favorite tune in the show?
Favorite Broadway show of all time?
I’ve always loved the Fosse shows. Sweet Charity and Cabaret.
What do you think will be going through your mind when you take your opening-night bow?
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