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Usher to make Broadway debut in ‘Chicago’

Grammy-winning R&B star to take on Billy Flynn role beginning August 22
/ Source: Reuters

With five Grammies under his belt, R&B singer Usher is moving into Tony territory — making his Broadway debut in a revival of the musical "Chicago."

The five-time Grammy winner will play the role of the devious lawyer Billy Flynn — Richard Gere's part in the 2002 Best Picture Oscar winner — producers Barry and Fran Weissler said Friday.

Usher, 27, joins a list of stars who have appeared on Broadway this year that includes Julia Roberts ("Three Days of Rain"), Denzel Washington ("Julius Caesar") and Christina Applegate ("Sweet Charity").

Usher will be opening in the long-running revival of "Chicago" Aug. 22 and stay with the show until Oct 1.

"Being on Broadway allows you to connect to audiences in a whole new way that's different from music and movies," Usher said in a statement.

Usher, whose full name is Usher Raymond, was discovered in a talent competition at 13 and has since released five albums with his hit songs including "Confessions," "Burn," and "Yeah!"

He has also appeared on several television shows and films such as the thriller "The Faculty," the high school comedy "She's All That," and romantic comedy "In The Mix."

The current Broadway production of "Chicago" won six 1997 Tony awards and has featured a number of guest stars since it opened in November 1996.

Among the actors to play Billy Flynn are George Hamilton, Taye Diggs and Billy Zane.

The role of Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who murders her boyfriend and tries to ride the notoriety to fame, was played by Renee Zellweger in the 2002 film and on Broadway has been played by Brooke Shields and Melanie Griffith.