Musical 'Chicago' comes to Sarasota

John O'Hurley stars in the Kander and Ebb musical at Van Wezel Hall

February 27, 2014 

John O'Hurley has starred as Billy Flynn in "Chicago" every year since 1995. PUBLICITY PHOTO

John O'Hurley doesn't have to do much prep work when he gets ready to play Billy Flynn in "Chicago."

"I've done this show more than 1,000 times," he said in a phone interview this week from, of all places, Chicago. "I could sit bolt upright in bed at 3 in the morning and do it."

He's played the role, three times on Broadway but usually on a national tour, every year since 2005.

"They give me a list of cities, I check off the ones I want to go to," he said.

This year, one of the cities he checked off was Sarasota.

Besides playing Flynn, the shady lawyer at the center of the Kander and Ebb musical, O'Hurley's had a varied career. He was the host of "Family Feud" for several years, he was the runner-up of the first season of "Dancing With the Stars," and he was the first person to play twins on a daytime soap opera.

But still, he said, he's probably best known for his role as J. Peterman on "Seinfeld."

"People remember 'Dancing with the Stars,' and I do a lot of animation work so people know me from that, especially kids," he said. "But I think mostly people remember J. Peterman because it was such an archival show. I was fortunate enough to be part of a champion show in a champion season."

Details: March 4-5 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Tuesday, 2 and 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets: $35-$80. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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