“I think I’ve been rehearsing my whole life for this,” says Pamela Anderson of making her debut on the Great White Way as Roxie Hart in Bob Fosse’s legendary Jazz Age musical Chicago. “The story and my life are so parallel,” she continues. “I always say…30 years of therapy or just one Broadway show, then I’ll be fine.”
Next month, the 54-year-old Baywatch star and activist will begin an eight-week run as Hart in the long-running, Tony-winning revival. It’s a role that Rob Marshall—who directed and choreographed the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Chicago in 2002—foresaw Anderson in over a decade ago after a serendipitous run-in on (where else?) the beach in California. “He came up to me, and said, ‘Have you ever thought about being on Broadway?’ ” recalls Anderson inside a smoky lounge in New York’s The McKittrick Hotel, where she’s just wrapped a shoot for the show’s promotional campaign with longtime collaborator Ellen von Unwerth. The mother of two goes on to explain that having been a parent of two teenagers (her sons with ex-husband Tommy Lee, Brandon Thomas and Dylan Jagger) at the time, she didn’t have the bandwidth to dedicate to the role then. Now? “The stars are aligning at the right time,” she says.