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Jessica Biel marks major musical debut

The Associated Press, Sunday, August 2, 2009, 8:41am (PDT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jessica Biel sings!

That may come as a surprise to audiences who only know the actress from her primarily dramatic work on television and in films, including the long-running "7th Heaven," and the big-screen "Stealth" and "The Illusionist."

Biel, 27, marks her major musical-theater debut this weekend, as the Los Angeles Philharmonic presents a three-night run of a concert version of the classic "Guys and Dolls" at the Hollywood Bowl.

"I haven't really done anything like this," Biel said, following a dress rehearsal Friday afternoon. "Well, I did one thing in college. In college, I did a concert version of 'Tommy' when I was in college. But, other than that ... ."

For "Guys and Dolls," Biel takes on the role of saintly Sarah Brown, a Manhattan missionary at odds with a gang of gamblers — and eventually in love with one of them. It's a far cry from one of Biel's last roles: a stressed-out stripper in the steamy, straight-to-video "Powder Blue."

"No, definitely not what you would think to go from 'this' into this," Biel responded, with a smile. "But that's the fun of this world. That's what I love about this job. You get to do something like that and then you go completely extreme to the other side of it, and terrify yourself in some other way. It's really about terrorizing myself."

Perhaps Broadway?

"Oh, yeah. I would love to," Biel replied. "Literally, that is one of my eight-year-old dreams. That's like my little eight-year-old inside me is cartwheeling around, thinking about that idea."

"Guys and Dolls" continues through Sunday night.

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