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The boards of Broadway are a way’s away from Billy Ray Cyrus’ native Flatwoods, Ky. But that’s exactly where the country singer and famous father will find himself come Nov. 5 when he steps into the showstopping role of Billy Flynn in a revival of the Bob Fosse musical Chicago.
Billy Ray is no stranger to acting or performing in front of crowds—he starred in a Toronto production of Annie Get Your Gun—but he admits that the sultry Chicago is new ground for him. “It is a sexy show. And thank goodness they’ll have some young people, because I’m not going to be the sexy one, I can guarantee you!” he says with a laugh. “I’m going to let those young, beautiful kids do all that fancy dancing and do all that sexy stuff.”
As attorney Billy Flynn, Billy Ray has one of the show’s biggest number, “Razzle Dazzle.” “I rented the movie and saw Richard Gere as Billy Flynn, and that guy is so dadgum handsome and such a great actor that he just killed it. He’s the ultimate over-the-top actor, which is good for that part. I’m a less-is-more actor,” says Billy Ray, who looks to former Seinfeld star John O’Hurley for inspiration. “I love the way John O’Hurley played it and I’ll probably go in that direction. When I saw it the first time, he was playing the role, and the whole role and the cast turned me on. I thought this could be a whole lot of fun and be a challenge to learn something new, musically and as an actor. I’m always hungry to learn and grow and evolve, and this was a chance to step up to the plate and try to play with the big boys.”
Staring Nov. 5, you can catch Billy Ray in Chicago at New York's Ambassador Theater through Dec. 23.
For more on Billy Ray and his new album, Change My Mind, pick up the current issue of Country Weekly, on stands now.