Julianne Hough on Making Her Broadway Dreams Come True With Debut in 'POTUS' (Exclusive)

Hough talks to ET about making the move to New York City to join the Broadway community.

After becoming famous for her time on Dancing With the Stars and starring in movie musicals like Footloose and Rock of Ages, Julianne Hough is taking her many talents to the stage with her Broadway debut in the upcoming play, POTUS. “This has been a dream of mine, to do Broadway and be on Broadway,” the performer tells ET’s Rachel Smith. 

And with that in mind, Hough is embarking on a whole new chapter in her life after deciding this is what she wanted to do next. “I, like, changed my mindset from instead of just coming here for a job to like, ‘No, I’m moving here and this is a whole new chapter. A new stage of my life.’”

She adds, “After the last few years, we’ve kind of just really understood what’s important and what we value. And this is what I value. And I want to put myself in proximity to that and immerse myself.”  

Given her dancing and singing abilities, Hough is aware that a lot of people might have expected her Broadway debut to be in something like Chicago. And while a production like that is on her bucket list, appearing in playwright Selina Fillinger’s new comedy felt like the right move. 

“Joining the Broadway community and putting myself in this position, I couldn’t imagine a better, more challenging and exciting play to be a part of,” Hough says of the ensemble production directed by Susan Stroman and also starring Julie White, Lea DeLaria, Lilli Cooper, Rachel Dratch, Suzy Nakamura and Vanessa Williams

She adds, “The script is so good and so funny.” 

In the play, Hough is one of seven women faced with trying to keep the president out of trouble after the use of a four-letter word sparks a PR nightmare for everyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “Or, ‘Behind Every Great Dumbass There’s Seven Women Trying to Keep Trying to Keep Him Alive,’” Hough says, referring to the play’s subtitle. 

While set in Washington, D.C., Hough says that “the idea of this play is so universal and has so many different facets, not just political. I think it’s gonna be relatable for many.” 

And when it comes to the president himself, don’t expect to see any particular man from the history books portrayed onstage. “He’s kinda an amalgamation of every president we’ve had,” adds Dratch, who, in addition to Nakamura, is also making her Broadway debut alongside Hough. 

POTUS / Playbill

With performances set to begin on April 14, Hough and her co-stars are busy with rehearsals as the performer adjusts to acting onstage. “I love being a student and learning,” she says. “So, the idea of just being here every day and feeling like I’m going to school and learning is kind of the most fun. I think the rehearsal process is even more fun than even being onstage because you get all the quirks and kinks and everything.” 

She adds, “This is a whole new world for me. So, to be able to come here with a new chapter and feel that structure and stability and also having a group of people that you’re gonna be with all the time, I don’t know, that’s just really exciting.”

Of course, Hough is excited for everyone to see her onstage in POTUS when the production finally opens. “We got a whole bunch of people working to come,” she says, adding, “I’ve felt a massive support from my friends and family.” 

Until then, she’s just soaking it all in. “This is such a beautiful experience,” Hough says. 

Performances of POTUS begin April 14, at the Shubert Theatre before officially opening May 9 for a limited engagement through August 14.