Chicago's Roxie Hart is a dream role for Charlotte in CCADS' production at The Station Theatre on Hayling Island
It’s a role which won Renée Zellweger a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for the 2002 film version, and has been played in the West End by Ruthie Henshall, Denise Van Outen, Claire Sweeney and Brooke Shields among other big names.
And for Charlotte Turnbull, Roxie Hart is a dream role – one she finally gets to play in CCADS’ production of the Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse musical, Chicago.
Charlotte was originally asked to be the show’s choreographer by CCADS artistic director, John-Paul McCrohon.
‘It’s a dream show of mine, so I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to choreograph it, and then the auditions came up, and Roxie is one of my dream roles as well. It’s a bit of a daydream going through it all – it’s incredible to be able to do the show in general, and play Roxie.’
Her love of the musical goes back to first seeing it on a UK Tour: ‘I saw it at the Mayflower (in Southampton) a good few years ago when I was still a teenager and I just loved it. I loved the dancing, and I love Bob Fosse, I’ve been obsessed with his work.
‘Even when I was at college I auditioned for a musical theatre course with the Roxie monologue and did one of Roxie’s songs while I was at college – it’s always been there.’
Set in roaring ’20s Chicago, chorus girl Roxie Hart murders her lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap – until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie.
Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another ‘Merry Murderess,’ Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the American Dream: fame, fortune, and acquittal.
‘It’s got a very dark side to it,’ says Charlotte, ‘but it’s also very funny, it’s so well-written. There’s parts where you laugh and you catch yourself: “Ooh, I shouldn’t be laughing at that, really”. I love that side of it.’
Given her love of the show and knowing the stars who’ve played the part before her, has Charlotte ever felt worried about stepping into their shoes?
‘There was a moment where I thought: “There’s a lot of pressure here”.
‘It’s one of those musicals that everyone knows because of the film, and it’s had such a long run as well, and also the Fosse style of dancing is such a specific kind of dancing, I thought: “I’ve really got to nail this!”
‘There’s been times when I’ve thought: “I don’t know if this is good enough”, “I don’t know if this is the right vision”, but once you step back and you see the dance or even with Roxie, you hear yourself sing the song, you get your confidence back.’
Last year’s Guide Awards Special Achievement winner John-Paul plays silver-tongued lawyer Billy Flynn, with Kevin Redfern as Amos, Kerry McCrohon as Velma Kelly and Lauren Kempton as fellow murderess Mona, plus a live 10-piece band.
Charlotte has worked on numerous CCADS shows in the past and putting together show with such a high dance content has brought its own challenges.
‘John-Paul and I work really well together, so I knew that the people he chose would be brilliant. A few of the younger members of the cast I’ve never worked with before, but they’ve been brilliant. Everyone has – they’ve thrown themselves into it. Even if they’re not the greatest dancers, they’ve given their all.’
Just before Chicago, CCADS bring the sixth annual edition of their popular Songs from the Shows concerts to the Station Theatre with Crazy for Musicals – featuring a host of songs from musicals of the stage and screen – this Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Station Theatre, Hayling Island
January 28-February 2