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The blood, sweat, and tears behind ''Chicago''

The blood, sweat, and tears behind ''Chicago'' -- Putting together a glitzy musical can wreak havoc on the body, as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere found out

Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones

(Chicago: David James)

Razzle-dazzling ‘em isn’t easy. ”It was fun – in a painful way,” says ”Chicago” killer/chanteuse Catherine Zeta-Jones of the requisite shimmies and shakes. ”Things were popping out. Beads were slapping me.” She suffered welts on her face and bumps from sliding off a piano. Hubby Michael Douglas even had to taunt her into sliding down a pole. ”She was scared to death and was crying,” says director Rob Marshall. ”He was going ‘Come on, don’t be a pussy!”’

Meanwhile, Richard Gere overcame his fear of tap dancing, rehearsing at length for a courtroom number. ”He went through T-shirt after T-shirt of sweat,” recalls Marshall.

For her part, Christine Baranski didn’t mind the demands of a scene in which her reporter goes airborne. ”There was a stuntman kneeling at my feet, putting me into this harness and lacing me up,” she purrs. ”It was so naughty and sexy. I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Originally posted January 24 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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