I’ve been a fan of yours throughout your career. I watched 7th Heaven and The Ashlee Simpson Show religiously, saw you dance behind older sister Jessica at two different concerts, and hit replay to your debut album Autobiography over and over again – playing “Pieces of Me” and “Shadow” until the CD was scratched. Through the ups and downs of the past decade, I’ve rooted for you even when others wrote you off after your Saturday Night Live lip-syncing mistake.
My mother-in-law purchased Chicago the Musical tickets to Sunday’s Hollywood Bowl show. When I heard that you would join Stephen Moyer and Samantha Barks on stage as Roxie Hart in ‘Chicago,’ I was really excited. I never had the opportunity to see you at the Ambassador Theatre or in London’s West End production of the Tony Award-winning show, but had heard great reviews.
It wasn’t hard to see what all that jazz was about. You shined on stage. All your past life experiences in dance, touring, acting, and of course on Broadway have seem to have led to your vibrant performance in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl. Your solo numbers “Funny Honey” and “Me and My Baby” didn’t have the long-held notes that others on stage belted out, but it was not needed. Your voice sounded clear and you never once sounded winded, even after multiple numbers. Your dancing was top notch, never missing a beat despite singing tunes at the same time. And your acting performance blew me away; the coy smirks, the puppet-like movements sitting on Billy Flynn’s lap in “We Both Reached for the Gun, the show you gave the jurors in the courtroom – your delivery was impeccable. Like your character, the press found you believable as I have yet to read a review that is not positive. The critics that had once torn you apart for your SNL performance, were writing a new story. This was your moment; the one that proved you were a legitimate ‘celebrity’ nowadays.
You truly rocked the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday. And although I got to see the last of three shows at the Bowl this weekend, I can imagine Director Brooke Shields had had all the kinks worked out even for Friday’s performance. The casting by Margery Simkin and Michael Donovan is to be applauded; it is hard for me to imagine that there is a better Roxie Hart than you.
I look forward to seeing you in other musicals. I can imagine that if you continue to live out your childhood dream, you will be a part of many award winning productions that sell out regularly. There is no denying your talent and I admire your ability to keep going after 2004. Thank you for dazzling us at the Hollywood Bowl and congrats on a great LA weekend!