Pamela Anderson Says Her 'Chicago' Broadway Debut 'Is the Beginning of the Rest of My Career'

"I've got nothing to live up to and I've got nothing to lose. I'm going crazy. I'm going for broke," she tells PEOPLE

Pamela Anderson is ready to wow Broadway audiences.

The actress will make her debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago when she steps into the musical next month on April 12 for a limited engagement through June 5 at New York City's Ambassador Theatre.

Speaking with PEOPLE on Wednesday, Anderson acknowledged that performing on Broadway means "no safety nets," but she's ready and training for the challenge.

"I'm like a sponge. I'm just soaking it all in," says Anderson, 54. "Every single experience has been just wild. I mean, it's wild to even be here. I have to pinch myself sometimes because it seems so surreal."

The Baywatch alum adds, "I'm so curious to see what I'm made of. Each day, my voice is getting stronger. The choreography is settling in. We're doing the original choreography — they're not holding back with me — and I'm just loving it. I'm just eating it up. I'm like, 'Oh my God, I should have been doing this longer!' But this is the right time."

"This is the beginning of the rest of my career — maybe," she says.

StarTracks Pamela Anderson
Bruce Glikas/WireImage

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Anderson explains that taking on the famous role is "a real big deal" to her, and she's leaning on her "support system and my kids" (Brandon Thomas Lee, 25, and Dylan Jagger Lee, 24) along the way.

"I needed this right now," says the star. "I feel like this is something I really needed to sink my teeth into. I love to work. I love to work hard. You know what, I kind of thought, 'Well, I'll just kick back and take it easy.' It's like, 'Oh no, no, no. I still need to work. I'm not that old yet!' "

Anderson's appearance as Roxie — a wannabe vaudevillian who murders a man she is having an affair with, and becomes famous as a result — will come after the role was originated by Verdon in the 1975 Broadway production, with music by John Kander and a book by Fosse and Fred Ebb.

Other big names who have portrayed Roxie onstage over the years include Ann Reinking, Ashlee Simpson Ross and Michelle Williams, as well as Renée Zellweger in the 2002 Chicago film adaptation opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones as rival and fellow murderess Velma Kelly.

Adds Anderson, "I have nothing to lose. I've got nothing to live up to and I've got nothing to lose. I'm going crazy. I'm going for broke."

Tickets for Chicago can be purchased at chicagothemusical.com.

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