‘How can they see with sequins in their eyes?’ coos Richard Gere, as a wide-eyed Renee Zellweger seeks advice from silver-tongued lawyer, Billy Flynn. With a murder charge about to ruin her blossoming Vaudeville career, Flynn convinces Roxie Hart to ‘razzle dazzle’ the jury with a rearranged version of the truth, provided ventriloquist-style by him.
‘The way Richard Gere played Billy [in the 2002 film adaptation], he always has a smile in his eyes,’ says Jimmy Osmond, the latest to step into the Chicago stage musical’s heartthrob role. Duncan James from Blue and Marti Pellow have both tackled the role in recent years. ‘Flynn’s manipulating the system to get these girls out of trouble. Others have played it where he’s just really a jerk. But I like the way Gere plays it . That’s what I’m trying to emulate, and it’s really a fun way to play it.’
Chicago’s take on the media circus in 1920s America is a storyline that Little Jimmy Osmond can tap into easily. After having a hit single aged eight with ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool’, he and his brothers enjoyed mega-stardom as a boy band. ‘It’s such a phoney business, the world of entertainment. “Long Haired Lover” used to make me cringe – it’s so cheesey. I embrace it now. It’s not about me; it’s showbusiness, and it’s about other people’s memories. I love what I do, but I’m definitely enjoying this chance to try a cool, sophisticated role!’