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Usher and Ashlee Simpson take to the stage

We review their recent bows in ”Chicago”

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NEW YORK
Usher
The Role Smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn (through Oct. 14) The Song and Dance Talk about the ol’ razzle-dazzle: Usher pops and locks his way through Bob Fosse’s universe, flashing million-dollar smiles and turning the line ”You’re just…a bagel” into a sweet falsetto trill. It’s a little out of place, but not unpleasant. The Verdict At 26, the kid can’t quite pull off Flynn’s bitterly suave maturity. (As if the 15-year-old girls in the audience care.)

LONDON
Ashlee Simpson
The Role Cutie-pie killer Roxie Hart (through Oct. 28) The Song and Dance Y’all that jazz: The Texas-born Simpson shows some promise in her first number — the seductive, raspy ”Funny Honey” — and her ballet training helps her hoof with the best of ’em. So why does she spend the show contorting her face like a kid on a playdate and shouting her dialogue in a barely disguised Southern twang? The Verdict Not exactly a bagel. More like…a ham.

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