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Sweet home “Chicago”

November 1, 2012
tags: ,

Published in Metro

You may know him as J. Peterman, poetic catalogue man in “Seinfeld,” or as a “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, or maybe by his deep, recognizable voice.

But for seven years, John O’Hurley has also starred as lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago.”

“The character has matured enormously for me in that time,” says the multifaceted performer, who joined the show on Broadway in 2005. “Something new occurs to me about the role and the script every night.”

He sees Billy as more than a sleazy defense attorney trying to turn blonde babe and murderess Roxie Hart into a media sweetheart.

“If you play him at that level, the show is over in five minutes,” says O’Hurley. “He has to go on a journey, too.”

When another female inmate is hanged, Billy’s game changes.

“The stakes have never been so high. It’s now about staying alive and not about becoming famous,” explains O’Hurley.

The show’s theme rings true in contemporary society.

“We try to make people that are otherwise indictable into celebrities,” O’Hurley says. “We make people famous that want to be famous, rather than people who have the talent to be famous.”

Speaking of famous: Supermodel Christie Brinkley plays Roxie Hart.

“I’m the guy who couldn’t get a date to senior prom and now I have Christie Brinkley sitting on my lap at one point of the show,” says O’Hurley of his costar.

O’Hurley takes the cake

O’Hurley, who grew up in Maine,  is a loyal Red Sox fan, and he’s not just saying that to please local readers: “We actually had a Boston Red Sox wedding cake, and we spent part of our honeymoon at Fenway Park,” he says.

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