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Our dinner with Brooke Shields

September 12, 2010 |  8:42 am

Brooke "I'm going to eat food that I don't have to rip open," said Brooke Shields in mock amazement, studying the menu at an Italian bistro in Brentwood.

Beside her water glass, her iPhone lay ominously in wait. At any moment it might summon her back to the Ahmanson Theater, where the new musical "Leap of Faith" was deep in technical rehearsals, or "tech," the painstaking process of calibrating sound, lighting and scenery cues as the actors walk through their paces.

Shields had been temporarily released and was taking opportunity to sit down for dinner. But that phone had its eye on her.

"I've never done tech before," said Shields. "I've done a lot of Broadway, but I've always been replacing somebody. So I was like, 'What? Are you kidding me? They don't have stand-ins?' But it's great, it's part of the whole process, and I'm loving it."

"It's just really, really long," she added with a laugh.

Shields didn't look as though she had been spending 14 hours a day on her feet under stage lights. Nor was she especially persuasive as someone who had ever eaten a prepackaged meal.

In a sleek black jacket and skinny black pants, with an artfully folded blue scarf at her neck, she could have passed as any Westside fashionista, if it weren't for her unmistakable beauty -- which actually seemed disproportionate to the requirements of a weeknight dinner, even a really nice one.

For the star of a new musical with its sights on Broadway, Shields, 45, has startlingly little of the diva about her. Case in point: She broke her hand early in the rehearsal process for "Leap" but brushed off the pain so as not to attract too much attention.

To read the full profile of Brooke Shields in Arts and Books, click here.

-- Margaret Gray

Photo: Brooke Shields. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times