NEW YORK (AP) — You don't have to tell Rumer Willis to "break a leg" before she goes on a Broadway stage every night. She already did that.
The 27-year-old "Dancing With the Stars" champion has shaken off a foot fracture to star in the musical "Chicago." The first daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Rumer beat her famous dad to Broadway, where he'll be starring in "Misery" later this fall.
The Associated Press caught up with the actress-dancer to ask about how Broadway hoofing compares to ballroom, the special woman who got her ready and what advice she'd give her father.
AP: Do you have any history with "Chicago"?
Willis: Yes, it was actually one of the first shows I ever saw on Broadway. I was such a huge fan of it and I always loved it and wanted to be in it.
AP: What was your first show onstage like?
Willis: It was amazing. It was lovely to have my whole family there and to really accomplish a goal that I've had from when I was a little kid. To finally say: "Yeah, I was on Broadway. I did that."
AP: What did you eat afterward?
Willis: French fries. I'm a huge french fries person.
AP: Your debut was delayed. What happened?
Willis: Basically, I had been working on the "Dancing With the Stars" tour and I found out 10 days into that I had a stress fracture in my foot. I thought it was healed so I started rehearsals here. But I found, in fact, that I had two stress fractures. One of them had healed and one of them didn't. It ended up delaying me and I had to push back my opening day.
AP: How does this Bob Fosse dancing compare with "Dancing With the Stars"?
Willis: The dancing in this is definitely much easier. It doesn't even compare to the level of difficulty, but it's just different. With other dance forms it's more about really hitting the moves and being sharp, and with this you have moments of being very oozy and being very aloof with your movements. It's almost about seeing how small you can make something — very precise but very small.
AP: The great dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking helped you make the transition. She doesn't do that for everyone.
Willis: I can't tell you how insanely lucky I feel to have gotten a chance to work with Ann. She's literally a magical creature. The knowledge that she has and the way she expresses things is amazing. She re-choreographed all the dance numbers for me and I was able to add a lot of ballroom dancing and stuff to my choreography.
AP: You beat your father to Broadway. Do you talk about this challenge you both face?
Willis: We were both really excited to be able to be on Broadway at the same time and really be able to have an experience that neither of us had undertaken before. I think it's really cool, to a certain extent, to be really peers.
AP: What advice would you tell a newcomer to Broadway like your dad?
Willis: You really have to be careful not to wear out your voice. I think he's been working a lot on techniques of using your voice without taxing it and being able to do it eight times a week.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits