Sept. 12--Paige Davis might be known as the hostest with the mostest on TV shows like "Trading Spaces" and "Home Made Simple," but her original bread and butter is Broadway musicals.
At the end of August, she came off "Chicago" on Broadway, and joined its national tour through September. She resumes a favorite role -- Roxie Hart, the fame-craving murderess who offs her fickle lover. It's a role she's played off and on for months at a time since 1998.
"I love the show," Davis says as she rides a shuttle bus in Portland, Ore., between press interviews for the show. "Because I've come in and out of the Broadway tour company and the national company, it feels like coming home. 'Chicago' was my Broadway debut at the Shubert Theatre (in New York City)."
"Chicago" and Davis stop at the Pikes Peak Center Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Tony Award-winning musical is based on a play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune who covered the 1924 murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner. The lead characters, Hart and Velma Kelly, are based on the two women.
After her death, Watkins left the rights to her play to Bob Fosse, the razzle-dazzle king of dance himself, who choreographed the musical, along with co-creators John Kander and Fred Ebb. The show made its debut on Broadway in 1975. The 2002 film version of "Chicago," directed by Rob Marshall, took home six Academy Awards.
"It's amazing how 30 years later, it's even more relevant," Davis says.
She's talking about that sweet siren call of fame.
"This idea of celebrity at any cost being the most important thing," she goes on. "In America, we see that now. People who do terrible things and thrive on the attention they get from it."
In the musical, Hart and Kelly, both jailed for murder, discover the spotlight is addictive, and compete for the public and their lawyer's attention.
Davis likens the phenomenon to this year's headlines about Jodi Arias, who was convicted in May of the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in Mesa, Ariz.
"To hear her testimony, it was like she had read the script for 'Chicago,' and decided that's how her testimony would go," Davis says. "She was so excited to be on the witness stand. She has influenced my performance. She is a real-life cell block girl -- literally Roxie and Velma all rolled into one."
Davis, too, hears a siren call -- that of Broadway.
"People are praising the live experience," she says. "That's why theater will continue to thrive. Everything is so digital, and you don't have a human connection anymore. To have a connection and direct response is spectacular."
Contact Jennifer Mulson at 636-0270.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Tickets: $38-$63; 520-7469, ticketswest.com
Davis on Broadway
Favorite musical: "West Side Story"
Favorite role played: Charity in "Sweet Charity"
Broadway debut: "Chicago"
Coveted role: Cassie in "A Chorus Line"
Coveted shows, no matter what the role: "I would sweep the floors to be in 'Matilda,'" Davis says. Also, "The Drowsy Chaperone" and "Pippin."
Only straight play she's been in: "Boeing-Boeing"
Acting inspiration: Bebe Neuwirth
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