October 20, 2016 at 7:00 am EST | by Mariah Cooper
Rumer has it
Rumer Willis, gay news, Washington Blade

Rumer Willis says the theme of her tour slowly emerged as she cultivated her set list. (Photo courtesy AMP Strathmore)

Rumer Willis
‘Over the Love Tour’
Wednesday, Oct. 26
AMP by Strathmore
11810 Grand Park Avenue
North Bethesda, Md.

Rumer Willis, the eldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, began studying opera at age 12 and later became interested in musical theater in high school.

In 2015 she took on Broadway as Roxie Hart in “Chicago” and is starring in the film adaptation of the musical “Hello Again.” She is also the winner of season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars” along with her dance partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Now Willis is embarking on her “Over the Love Tour,” a post-modern cabaret act and her first time touring. Willis, who’s straight, spoke with the Washington Blade about her love for cabaret, her parents’ reaction to her music dreams and her favorite low-key hobby.

WASHINGTON BLADE: How did you first become interested in cabaret?

RUMER WILLIS: It seems like such a cool way to have a conversation with the audience, especially because it’s so much more of an intimate setting. It allows you to get more personal with the audience and tell stories and connect with them.

BLADE: The show is described as a “post-modern cabaret.” What does that mean?

WILLIS: I think that it’s not all old school. It’s not all standards and it’s a little bit of a modern flair.

BLADE: Who are some of your musical inspirations?

WILLIS: Oh man. Etta James, Aretha Franklin, the Coasters, Patsy Cline. There’s a huge range you know?

BLADE: “Over the Love” is your first tour. How did you go about curating your song choices?

WILLIS: When I first put the show together, I didn’t necessarily think that it was going to be a tour about “Over the Love.” But then as I started to kind of look at the song list and put it all together I just realized, “What is a story that I can tell with this show?” And I just realized what’s something that everyone struggles with no matter where you’re from, or what job you have or how much money you have. What are things that we all kind of go through? And it’s love. Whether it’s something that makes you happy or makes you sad we all kind of deal with it.

BLADE: You’re recording your first album. Is it all cover songs or original music?

WILLIS: It’s mostly going to be all originals. Maybe a few covers. It’s still in the beginning stages because I really haven’t had time to continue working on it because I did “Dancing with the Stars” and then I did “Chicago” and then filming so it’s kind of been non-stop.

BLADE: You performed on stage in “Chicago” and you also filmed a screen adaptation of “Hello Again.” What’s the difference between performing a musical live and filming one?

WILLIS: It’s so different. When you’re on the stage you only really get one chance. You’re singing live. When you’re filming there’s different takes and you’re singing it a bunch more. So it’s very different I would say.

BLADE: Most people may not know that you do music, but you’ve been professionally trained since you were a child. Is there anything else people would be surprised to learn about you?

WILLIS: I knit. I’m kind of an old grandma.

BLADE: Were your parents always supportive of your ambition to do music?

WILLIS: Oh most definitely. They have always been so supportive of that and of pretty much any kind of creative venture.

BLADE: You were the winner of season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Have you had time to catch any of the new season?

WILLIS: Oh must definitely.

BLADE: Do you have any favorites?

WILLIS: Obviously, I’m always going to be rooting for Val (Chmerkovskiy). But Sharna (Burgess) is one of my really great friends now and obviously Maksim (Chmerkovskiy). So I’ve got a few friends that I think are going to make it a really great season.

BLADE: What do you hope people will take away most from your show?

WILLIS: I hope they end up smiling and get more of a chance to get to know me and have a greater understanding of who I am.

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