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Johnny Hallyday to star in Paris play

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Johnny Hallyday to star in Paris play
Bryan Chan (File)
13:13 CEST+02:00

French rocker Johnny Hallyday is about to swap his trademark leathers and guitar for the more sober surroundings of the Edouard-VII theatre in Paris.

Hallyday will be performing in the Tennessee Williams play The Seven Descents of Myrtle. The French translation, Le Paradis sur Terre, is closer to the play's original title, Kingdom of Earth.

Hallyday will play the role of Chicken, the mixed-race half-brother of Lot who has returned home with his new wife.

It is the pop star's first outing as a theatre actor and in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien, Hallyday said his biggest fear was forgetting his lines.

"It's the fear of all actors: finding yourself on stage and going blank," he said. 

The play opens on September 6th and Hallyday has been rehearsing with his fellow actors, Audrey Dana and Julien Cottereau since early August. He confessed to feeling anxious about the opening night.

"The first day, we will all have terrible stage fright," he said. "But, for now, it's OK. It's great to work with Audrey, who's a generous actress, and Julien Cottereau is exceptional."

The ever-youthful 68-year-old Hallyday will be playing the role of a man in his 30s. Some fans may be disappointed that he won't be required to sing in the role.

"He didn't want to sing," the director, Bernard Murat, told newspaper Le Figaro, adding that he is keen to be seen as an actor rather than a singer in this piece.

Le Parisien also asked Hallyday for a comment on the dismissal of the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Hallyday himself was the subject of a rape allegation in 2001 which was also dismissed.

"It all seemed very strange to me, this story," he said. "We'll never know …. But I can't imagine DSK doing that, particularly in the United States. What I do think is that Anne Sinclair is a formidable woman."

Hallyday is scheduled to appear in the play for at least two months, which is a longer run than it managed on its first outing over 40 years ago. The play originally opened in New York in May 1968 before closing after just 29 performances.


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