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Cuba Gooding Jr will star in the West End return of Chicago at Phoenix Theatre

Read these Cuba Gooding Jr. facts before seeing Chicago The Musical

Carly-Ann Clements

By Carly-Ann Clements Published 26 March 2018

This month, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. is making his UK stage debut. He’ll be playing Billy Flynn in Chicago The Musical at the Phoenix Theatre from 26 March 2018. He’s one of the most memorable actors in Hollywood, and soon, he’ll be one of the biggest names on the West End.

Having starred in the unforgettable role of Rod Tidwell in Jerry McGuire in 1997, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you know him. But do you really? Here are 7 facts about Cuba you probably don’t know.

Cuba Gooding Jr. started as a dancer

Cuba Gooding Jr and company in rehearsals for Chicago (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

You’ve seen him nimbly jump across the stage. He’s prone to busting a move in an interview. But did you know he used to be a professional breakdancer? Cuba Gooding Jr. started his career as a backup dancer for Paula Abdul. He also performed at the 1984 LA Olympics closing ceremony with Lionel Richie as part of the dance group, Majestic Visual Break Dancers.

Cuba’s wife was Sara Gooding

Cuba met Sara Kapfer in high school. He was 19, she was just 16/17. After seven years of dating, they married in 1994. The couple made a rule that no matter what, they wouldn’t go longer than a month without seeing each other. Sadly, Sara filed for legal separation in 2014, and Cuba filed for divorce in 2017.

Cuba Gooding Jr. has three children

Sara and Cuba had three children together. Their eldest, Spencer, was born in 1994. Their second son Mason was born in 1996. Like his dad, he’s an actor. They also have a daughter named Piper who was born in 2005.

Cuba’s family is full of performers

Sarah Soetaert, Cuba Gooding Jr and Michelle Antrobus in rehearsals for Chicago (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The flair for the arts doesn’t stop at Cuba Jr. and Mason. His father Cuba Gooding Sr. was a popular soul singer in the 1970s and his brother Tommy is a musician. His brother Omar is a successful TV actor while his sister April has dabbled in acting, too.

There are a lot of Cuba Gooding Jr. movies

So you remember him in Jerry McGuire, Boyz In The Hood, Snow Dogs and As Good As It Gets. But how about A Few Good Men, Outbreak, What Dreams May Come, Pearl Harbour, Selma and The Butler? Cuba has had an incredible movie career having appeared in over 50 films.

Cuba is making a big splash on the small screen

Chicago The Musical is far from his first time acting in court. In addition to A Few Good Men, Cuba was nominated for an Emmy and a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of O. J. Simpson in American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson in 2016. In the same year, he appeared in American Horror Story: Roanoke, and is set to appear in the upcoming Katrina: American Crime Story.

Chicago The Musical isn’t Cuba’s first time treading the boards

Yes, Chicago The Musical is Cuba’s West End debut. Yes, Chicago The Musical is Cuba’s first musical. But this isn’t his first time on stage. He appeared in The Trip To Bountiful at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway in 2013.

To see Cuba Gooding Jr. in Chicago The Musical, get your tickets, here.

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