“My first day of rehearsals, [my] jaw dropped at everything. … I was just so thrilled,” the actress, 25, tells J-14 exclusively ahead of her first performance. “My first day that I actually was comfortable with the dialogue, with the staging, with the numbers is the first time that I actually felt like Roxie.”
Olivia explains that there was a massive shift between “learning everything” about her role to feeling “locked in” to Roxie.
“My first day that I felt locked in was a whole different experience,” the Cruel Summer alum gushes. “I’ll never forget it. I left that day feeling that I could maybe actually do this.”
The actress and singer will be making her Broadway debut in an eight-week engagement as Roxie Hart from April 10 through June 4. While chatting with J-14 about the iconic moment in her career, Olivia recalls having “a bodily experience” after hearing she nabbed the role.
“I felt everything. I was in my home in L.A. when I got the call,” she shares. “I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand. I didn’t know what to — I couldn’t compute.”
Tons of stars — including Pamela Anderson, Veronica Dunne and Ashlee Simpson, among others — have played Roxie Hart on Broadway over the years, proving that any woman of any age can take on the role. This is something Olivia says “means everything” to her.
“We see so many different versions of women in so many different fields and categories of life. I think this specific role has shown us that we can be versatile. Not just in our age, but in the way that we feel, or in the way that we carry ourselves or in the way that we’re quick on our feet and we’re clever and we’re smart,” the Cloak & Dagger star says. “She’s so dimensional and I think it’s so important for other women to see that and to embrace that and to leave feeling inspired that they can be that too.”
For her portrayal, Olivia has been focusing on “finding the comedy” in Roxie along with the “dangerous” side of the character.
“I really want to tap into all the layers that she has because I think it’s really important to showcase every single piece of her,” the “Next” singer shares. “I really love that she’s not just one-note throughout the whole thing. Every time we see her on stage, she’s in a whole new headspace.”
Overall, playing Roxie has been “liberating” for Olivia in so many ways, especially after coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think Roxie has inspired me to bring that to just ignite that light again. I think that she’s so liberating and just so fearless. She goes after what she wants, and she’ll showed kill somebody to do it. So, I think having that ambition and being inspired by that has helped me become liberated again.”
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