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Skating star Elvis Stojko wants to do more acting (and racing) after 'Chicago'

12/02/2013 03:38 EST | Updated 02/01/2014 05:59 EST
TORONTO - Three time world champion figure skater Elvis Stojko says he hopes his upcoming role in "Chicago, the Musical" will be just the start of an onstage and/or onscreen career he wants to pursue alongside another passion — auto racing.

"I don't want to be skating for the rest of my life," the 41-year-old Newmarket, Ont., native said Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Ajijic, Mexico.

"My real focus is racing cars. ... I'm racing go-karts right now at the national/international level, I'm ranked No. 2 in Canada in my division. .... But on the side, if I switch over and do singing or acting, television or movies — you never know what direction this leads — that could be another outlet for me.

"I remember Paul Newman, he always said he funded his racing career with his acting, that was his thing because he loved racing. And I love racing — that's my passion and that's something that I want to continue doing in my life."

Stojko will play smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in the jazzy Prohibition-era show that will run at the Princess of Wales Theatre from March 26 to March 30 as part of Mirvish Productions' 50th anniversary season.

It's a role that's been taken on by veteran performers including Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Thicke and Richard Gere, who was in the 2002 Oscar-winning film.

Stojko said he doesn't "feel entirely like a fish out of water," considering he's been performing on ice his whole life. He also used to act in school plays as a kid in Newmarket, and in 2004 he played Vince Fontaine in a production of "Grease" in Toronto.

Stojko has also released an album and taken singing lessons from a vocal coach as well as his dad, a classically trained tenor. His other show business experience includes doubling for Robin Williams in the 2002 film "Death To Smoochy," for which he also did choreography, and portraying a hockey player in the 2000 TV movie "Ice Angel."

He said the "Chicago" opportunity came up through a skating friend in the U.S., who suggested him to a producer.

"By no means am I a professional, but I do have some skill and it kind of helped me get the part for this, with 'Chicago.' But anything with that type of performance, I really love it."

The two-time Olympic silver medallist, who announced his retirement from amateur figure skating in 2002 (he still performs in ice shows), said he'll probably keep his acting focus on more dramatic roles.

"I've done a lot of that performance aspect on ice," said Stojko. "It was a more dramatic, more serious type of character, so that would probably be a little easier of a genre for me."

Stojko, who also plans to publish his autobiography early next year, said he doesn't have an end-date in mind for his professional skating career.

"It's just going year by year and by feel. I don't know, maybe two more years, maybe three more years max, I think, depending on how all this unfolds with my racing."

For his career on the track, he hopes to attract sponsors and move on to open-wheel racing, perhaps in the Star Mazda series.

He's also interested in the world touring car circuit.

"Former F1 drivers and IndyCar drivers race this series, and I think I have the ability and potential to be able to reach that level," said Stojko. "It's definitely something that I want to strive for ... so I'm pretty focused on that. I'm training quite hard at it as well."

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