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Gary Wilmot and Emma Barton are having the time of their life, playing dream roles Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart with the touring cast of Chicago.
“Gary has always wanted to play Billy Flynn and I’ve always wanted to play Roxie Hart so we are having a ball," former Eastender star Emma said.
Ever since watching Henry Goodman play Billy Flynn in the opening London cast 12 years ago, West End pro Wilmot has always hoped to fill the shoes of Chicago’s smooth talking lawyer.
“He’s a very good looking man,” Gary said. “I’ve never played a role like this before. Usually I am a bit of an idiot and I play the comedy roles but Billy is a sharp dresser. You get to wear a great suit as well and get to sing some great songs too.
Emma, who is best known for her run on TV in Eastenders as Honey Mitchell, is ecstatic to put all that jazz into her first leading lady role.
“Once you have been in something that people recognise you from the telly, they are not sure what else you can do. I have done a lot of theatre before, but nothing like this.”
This well established show has attracted the likes of Marti Pellow, Darius Danesh and Renee Zellweger to these larger than life characters – a fact that holds both good and bad points for the new cast members.
“It was tough for me because I look so much like Marti Pellow,” Gary jokes. “When you go into a rehearsal, you can only take your own tools with you and read the script and try and deliver it the way you see it.
“However there are pros and cons to joining a show that is already well-established. People expect a certain thing from you. It’s important that you know where to stand on the stage. Those things don’t change very much because they work.”
On a similar note, Emma is glad she never watched anyone perform Roxie in the stage production as it meant she could not be influenced by their interpretation.
“If I don’t see it, I can just do my own thing and not panic.”
Chicago is currently on at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow between October 5-10 and will also be at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen in mid November.
For more information about Chicago, visit www.chicagothemusical.com/uktour.php
To keep up to date with Gary, visit www.garywilmot.co.uk