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‘Office’s’ Hardin heads to ‘Chicago’

Actress to play Roxie Hart in musical

For nearly seven weeks, Melora Hardin is trading the offices of Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin for the bright lights of Broadway.

The actress who plays Jan Levenson on the hit NBC TV series “The Office” will join the cast of “Chicago” Dec. 29 to portray that killer chorine Roxie Hart. Hardin will appear in the long-running revival at the Ambassador Theatre through Feb. 12.

“I’m thrilled. I’m so excited,” Hardin said in a telephone interview. “I have been dancing all my life, since I was 5. … In a way, I was made for musicals. But I have been working so much in film and television that I never really had a chance to do them.”

Hardin auditioned for the musical by singing “Roxie” and “All That Jazz,” the big number for the show’s other merry murderess, Velma Kelly.

Her last stage appearance was in August in a Hollywood Bowl concert version of “Les Miserables,” in which she played Fantine. Besides “The Office,” in which she plays Steve Carell’s love interest, Hardin has appeared in the USA series “Monk.” Her upcoming movies include “Seventeen Again,” featuring Zac Efron, and she plays Billy Ray Cyrus’ love interest in “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” opening in April.

The revival of the Kander and Ebb-Bob Fosse musical opened in New York in November 1996 and won six Tony Awards including best musical revival. No word yet on who will play Velma or lawyer Billy Flynn opposite Hardin.

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