music

Ashlee Simpson heading to Broadway as Roxie in 'Chicago'

Is Simpson The Younger fit for a role as a young performer of questionable talent, desperate for attention?

<p>Ashlee Simpson</p>

Ashlee Simpson

Credit: AP Photo


The Great White Way is getting another pop star to helm the marquee of one of its most famed shows. Ashlee Simpson has been tapped to play Roxie Hart in Broadway musical "Chicago" for six weeks in New York, beginning in December.

It is not the first time for her playing the role, as she did her best Roxie for London's Cambridge Theatre in late 2006 for the same amount of time.

Simpson is far from the first celebrity to be tapped for Broadway, but there seems to be a certain questionable/experimental caliber to the casting choices for "Chicago" in the past in particular: Huey Lewis, Usher, Brooke Shields, David Hasslehoff, Patrick Swayze and others have done time filling the razzle-dazzling shoes in the show.

"Those wishing to be Chicago-ed are largely, like Roxie, in pursuit of fame, with their star poised somewhere between ascendance and the wane," wrote Guardian critic Laura Barton of Simpson's appearance at the Cambridge Theatre. Three years ago.

It'd be safe to say that Simpson leans a bit more toward the wane now than she did then. Her canceled position at TV's newest reincarnation of "Melrose Place" wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of her acting chops or likeability... but then again, it's "Melrose Place." The reviews of her last album, 2008's "Bittersweet World" were very mixed, and it seems clear that Simpson would struggle to sell the numbers of albums that she did in 2005/2006.

But, then again, her performances in London were overall well-received. Was she just better than expected, or good to go?

Regardless, Simpson is obviously trying to find her next career steps at age 25. The days of her lip-synch-and-jig performance on "Saturday Night Live" are far in the past, so perhaps she longs for another shot at live performance.

"For me, it wasn't like I ever wanted to have my name in the papers. It was usually like, 'Oh, no!' But I know what the feeling is. And I know what the celebrity life is like, so I tried to bring a little comedy to that," Simpson told MTV in 2006. The former sentiment sounds funny coming from a reality show centerpiece, tabloid regular, pop singer and celebrity-by-proxy (to older sis Jessica and husband Pete Wentz). Let's just see how she does with the latter on these shores.

Katie-hasty-sm
Katie Hasty
Managing Editor
After five years as a columnist and editor at Billboard, Katie Hasty joined HitFix in 2009 for music and film reporting out of New York. The Midwest native has worked as a writer, music promoter and in A&R since 1999 and performs with her band Numbers And Letters.
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