3 questions for...Bebe Neuwirth

Broadway baby, birthday girl

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1. You’re coming back to Chicago, but as Roxie Hart. Why the switch?

It’s really not that unusual for a performer to change roles in a show—I did A Chorus Line back in 1980, first as Sheila and then as Cassie. I love Chicago and wanted to come back, but I also wanted to challenge myself. Also, I had a full hip replacement earlier this year, so it was very important to me to be back on Broadway, dancing. There are a few things I’m not able to do anymore, but as Roxie I’m not required to do them.

2. Chicago is very much about our culture’s obsession with celebrity and infamy. Have you ever wound up in the tabloids?

Once, when I went to the Emmys, one of the papers put me on their worst-dressed list, and another said I was one of the best dressed. I actually won that year, so I was happy regardless.

3. You’re debuting on December 31, which is also your birthday. Any special plans?

I’m just planning to dance in the show and get out of Times Square before it gets too crazy. Having your birthday on New Year’s Eve is nice because everyone remembers it. But it’s also the only birthday that people actually notice when it ends. If you’re out celebrating your birthday on July 14th, nobody looks at their watch at 12:01am on the 15th and says, “It’s not your birthday anymore!”—Dan Avery

Bebe Neuwirth returns to Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre Sun 31 at 2pm. For ticket info, call 212-239-6200. See Theater, Broadway.

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