Michelle DeJean has made "a very successful career of playing bad women," she says (Roxie Hart in Chicago, for one) both on and off Broadway. "So it's going to be very nice to play someone who I can see some of myself in."
Playing the part of Betty Haynes (think Rosemary Clooney in the 1954 movie version) in the Theatre Under the Stars production of White Christmas at the Hobby Center also gives DeJean the chance to really enjoy one of her favorite holidays.
"Anybody who knows me knows I'm obsessed with Christmas; I sort of live for this time of year," said DeJean (last seen here in TUTS's production of Urban Cowboy at Miller Outdoor. Although she's never done White Christmas before (the musical was developed years after the movie), she felt being in a Christmas production was "inevitable at some point in my career."
White Christmas "will appeal to people with more of the classics in mind," she said. "It's songs we all know and love. It's just a feel-good story."
A specialty of the show will be the big delivery of snow -- but DeJean declined to say how that's going to be accomplished. "I can't give away the secret. I heard it's going to be pretty spectacular."
DeJean, who has decided to leave the "bit of a rat race" of New York City to return to her roots in Houston (she's a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the Humphries School), says she's been able to recapture her joy of performing here.
She began early with that. "My mother says and still says I could sing whole songs before I could speak whole sentences," she told us. But initially, what she studied was ballet, which was her major at HSPVA. She later decided to take her talents in another direction and embarked upon her singing career and musical theater.
DeJean promises that people will leave White Christmas singing. "It's a time of year to feel good and be with your family and see something everyone is going to enjoy. It's been a very rough year for everybody with the economy. The theater gives people a chance to escape from all that. And let us entertain you for a couple of hours."
The Theatre Under the Stars production of White Christmas runs December 6-18 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For ticket information call 713-558-8887 or go to ww.TUTS.com.
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