Ashlee Simpson to play Roxie Hart in 'Chicago' - again
The name on everybody's lips is gonne be ... Ashlee Simpson. Again.
It was recently announced that the 28-year-old singer and former "Melrose Place" actress will play Roxie Hart in the upcoming Los Angeles production of "Chicago," directed by Brooke Shields. In the 1920s-themed musical, the character is a married, aspiring stage performer who is jailed and faces trial over the alleged murder of her lover. Renee Zellweger played the part in a 2002 movie.
Simpson made her professional stage debut playing the character in the West End production of the show in 2006. She also played the part in a 10th anniversary celebration of "Chicago" that year in New York. She reprised the role in a Broadway revival in 2009, which marked her Broadway debut.
Simpson joins previously-announced performers "True Blood" star Stephen Moyer, Drew Carey, Lucy Lawless of "Xena" fame and "Les Miserables" film and stage actress Samantha Barks in the show, which will have three performances at the Hollywood Bowl between July 26 and July 28.
Carey will play Amos, the naive husband of Simpson's character. Moyer will be playing the tap-dancing lawyer Billy Flynn and Barks will play Velma Kelly, a role that earned Catherine Zeta-Jones an Oscar for her performance in the 2002 film adaptation. Lawless will play Matron "Mama" Morton, the corrupt matron of Cook County Jail.
Shields has herself also appeared in productions of "Chicago," on Broadway and in London's West End. The Hollywood Bowl production marks Shields' directorial debut.
Simpson is known for her pop music career and also played Violet on the CW's reboot of the show "Melrose Place," which aired for two seasons between 2009 and 2010. The actress also portrayed Cecilia on the series "7th Heaven" in 2004.
News of Simpson's casting in Shields' "Chicago" comes days before the release of her latest on-screen project, the action-comedy film "Pawn Shop Chronicles," which hits theaters on July 12 and also stars Paul Walker and Brendan Fraser.
(Pictured above: In this photo provided by StarPix, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz appears during the curtain call after her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in 'Chicago' in New York on Dec. 1, 2009. / Actor and TV host Drew Carey, part-owner of the Seattle Sounders MLS soccer team, walks on the sidelines before a match in Seattle on May 11, 2013. Credit: AP Photo / Marion Curtis, StarPix / Ted S. Warren)