Ashlee Simpson Preps for Chicago

09/22/2006 at 04:15 PM EDT

Ashlee Simpson Preps for Chicago
Len Prince
As she prepares for her West End debut in the musical Chicago, Ashlee Simpson is working out the songs and the steps – but says she doesn't need help getting into her character, Roxie Hart, who lives the highs and lows of celebrity life.

"The play is absolutely all about celebrity and wanting to be famous and having your name in the papers and your picture in the papers," Simpson, 21, tells AP Radio. "And, in that sense, it's been kind of cool, because I've really got to connect to that, because I've seen that world and been in that world."

Roxie, the character Renee Zellweger portrayed in the 2002 Oscar-winning film, is the up-and-coming 1920s performer who dreams of a life on the Vaudeville stage but who ends up on death row for murder. Simpson calls the role "humbling" and says she relates to the notion of having to struggle for success.

"You are not a celebrity when you come here. Everyone is equal, everyone has to work together, so this has been amazing," she says of being part of an ensemble cast. "But, as far as tabloids and whatnot go, I really try to keep my head out of them and try not to read the stories or anything like that, because they are never really true."

Simpson began rehearsals in New York in August. The show opens Monday in London's West End and is scheduled for a five-week engagement, closing Oct. 28.

Ashlee's sister, Jessica, plans to be at the London debut, but don't expect Ashlee to gloat if she gets good reviews. "We're sisters. We've got to be there for each other," she says. "We can have (that with) the other people we're competitive with, but not each other."

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