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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Van Outen arrives in Chicago
Denise Van Outen
Van Outen has not performed on the stage for 10 years
Former Big Breakfast presenter Denise Van Outen made her West End debut on Tuesday when she joined the cast of raunchy hit musical Chicago.

Van Outen plays Roxie, a chorus girl who uses her wiles to wangle her acquittal after being charged with the murder of her lover.

Van Outen, 26, attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London and appeared in productions such as Les Miserables from the age of 11.

But her role as Roxie at the Adelphi Theatre for 16 weeks marks her return to the stage for the first time in 10 years.

A scene from the musical Chicago
Chicago demands acting, singing and dancing skills
As Roxie, Van Outen acts, sings and performs difficult dance routines.

"People coming to see the show will hopefully see more than just TV's bubbly blonde and I hope it will open a few more doors for me," she said.

Van Outen became a UK household name for her stint at the Big Breakfast, along with co-host Johnny Vaughan.

Chicago has been a big London hit since it opened in 1997.

Other well-known stars to appear have included French singer Sasha Distel and British entertainer Les Dennis.

Segal and Liz Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Segal and Liz Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Van Outen is joined by another Chicago newcomer James Gaddas, who most recently appeared in Yasmina Reza's hit play Art, also in London's West End.

Gaddas takes over the lead male role of Billy Flynn, vacated by Distel and who has gone on to work on a musical about Maurice Chevalier.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the heart of London's the West End, Hollywood star George Segal also made his London stage debut on Tuesday - in Art.

The hit play has been at London's Wyndham Theatre for six years and has continuously changed its cast of three actors after several weeks.

US stars

Segal, 67, joins the 19th cast of the one-act production for 15 weeks.

Segal has made more than 60 films, gaining a reputation as a comedian and love interest in films such as A Touch Of Class and The Cable Guy.

He follows actors such as Albert Finney, Sir Tom Courtenay and Patrick Duffy, who have also appeared in Art.

But Segal also joins the long list of stars from the US who have swapped Hollywood glamour for the greasepaint of London's stage.

His predecessors include Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall in The Graduate, Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room and Kevin Spacey in The Ice Man Cometh.

Next to make the trans-Atlantic switch is Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, who is due to appear in the Philadelphia Story this summer.

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See also:

03 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Van Outen's career goes down the Tube
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Breakfast over for Denise and Johnny
28 Mar 01 | Arts
George Segal joins Art
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Van Outen's Breakfast return
19 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Jay Kay: 'I will marry Denise'
08 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Pace goes to Chicago
10 May 00 | Entertainment
Chicago comeback for Dennis
26 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Duffy finds feet in Art
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Street and Spandau stars joins Art
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