The vampy, Germanic Ute Lemper returns to the role of Velma in the Broadway run of Chicago Jan. 26, the same night Roz Ryan steps in as Matron Mama Morton.
Lemper unexpectedly walked out of a performance Jan. 9 due to illness and standby Nancy Hess stepped in until Jan. 14, when Bebe Neuwirth, who created the revival role, rejoined for 10 days. Lemper rested and recovered from laryngitis Jan. 9-24.
Ryan, star of TV's "Amen" and "Good News," takes over for Marcia Lewis, who begins rehearsing in the city of Chicago for placement in the Chicago "Velma" tour that goes to Toronto Feb. 2-26 after the Windy City. Chita Rivera will play Roxie Hart in that company in Canada and in Las Vegas.
Lewis will be back in Broadway's Chicago May 25, the same day the long-rumored Sandy Duncan (Peter Pan, My One and Only) is expected to take over the role of Roxie, according to an insider. Chicago producers would not comment on Duncan's casting. A representative of Duncan's agent said he's also heard "talk" and "stories" but could not confirm negotiations. For tickets and information on Chicago at the Shubert Theatre call (212) 239-6200.