Rebecca Romijn is best known as Mystique in the X-Men films and Alexis Meade on television’s Ugly Betty. This Friday she takes the plunge into musical theater when she steps onto the stage as Swedish bombshell Ulla in The Producers at The Hollywood Bowl, joining Broadway veterans Richard Kind, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Roger Bart and Gary Beach.
The 39-year-old actress is no stranger to professional risks and has taken them successfully, transitioning from a modeling career where she posed for Christian Dior, Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret, to television host on MTV’s House of Style, to acting. Romijn talked to Theatermania about her first theatrical adventure.
THEATERMANIA: How brave do you have to be to perform in your first professional musical on stage at the Hollywood Bowl?
REBECCA ROMIJN: It’s overwhelming! But 18,000 people will be a wall of anonymity, and less scary than a room of 10 in a small theater. On the first day of rehearsals — which was only last week! — our producer told us that in New York you might get 700 people who take their seats, cross their legs and get ready to criticize, but at the Hollywood Bowl they meet you with open arms. Of course, there might be a bottle of wine involved!
TM: How far out of your comfort zone are you with the singing and dancing?
RR: I was a voice major in college, but I am so far out of my comfort zone with the dancing! It’s the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done. My husband told me I’d be adding a double threat with the singing and dancing, but after a few dance rehearsals he said ‘well, maybe just a single threat.’
TM: What made you want to do a musical at this point in your career?
RR: I was a musical theater kid and did it in high school and college. I always knew that I wanted to do this, but I was so far away from it for so long. And I have my daughters who I want to inspire, and teach them that life is about going outside your comfort zone.
TM: Were you re-bitten by the bug when your husband, Jerry O’Connell, make his Broadway debut last year in Seminar?
RR: Yes. I was so in that world going ‘why am I not doing this? I really want to be doing this!’ This call came in and it was a no-brainer.
TM: How is working on a stage physically different than working on a film or TV set?
RR: This is so different. It’s so physical and so athletic. It’s exhausting. They’ve been calling rehearsals “Camp Hollywood Bowl” but it’s not relaxing!
TM: And when you go home you still have to be a mother to your twin girls Dolly and Charlie?
RR: I go home and still need to rehearse. They let me get one song out then it’s their turn. Dolly says ‘more, more!’ They take over the coffee table as their stage.
TM: Will working in theater be the next direction of your career?
RR: It’s a turning point. It’s monumental. I have a feeling that on Sunday night I’m not going to feel finished.