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The musical, considered too dark when it failed in 1975, today seems right in keeping with hard-learned cynicism about the American justice system.
From Oct. 7-12, the Crescent City turned into the Second City as the sensational Broadway hit "CHICAGO" gave audiences "All that Jazz" at the Saenger Theatre for the theatre's Broadway in New Orleans series.
It has been a while since I have watched a Broadway show of this caliber, and I must say it was quite refreshing. John Kander and Fred Ebb's "CHICAGO" is an old time favorite of mine, and has the special honor of being my first Broadway show during my first trip to New York City. Having the chance to see "CHICAGO" in the Saenger brought back the same wide-eyed wonder I felt the first time I saw the musical. It was a wonderful delight to see this wonderfully crafted show in the Crescent City.
The show is just as great as it was back when it first premiered. The pulsating music, high energy choreography, and cast of sultry characters are all there. The sheer "Razzle Dazzle" of "CHICAGO" is something audiences will be talking about for months to come.
For those who don't know the story, this fabulous farce focuses on criminals profiting as celebrities, and how the media itself profits from the sensational murder trials. The time is 1926, and murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly vie against each other to use the unscrupulous lawyer Billy Flynn to help them milk the media's fascination with them in order to be acquitted of their crimes. Following acquittal, the former rivals, turned reluctant partners, enjoy brief vaudeville glory. Despite the setting, this show couldn't be more relevant in today's world of celebrity scandals. You can't disagree with Mama Morton, "In this town, murder's a form of entertainment".
Told as vaudeville, Chicago moves with a high octane force amongst a stripped set to focus on the song-and-dance glories that Ann Reinking first created in the style of Bob Fosse. The whole look of the show is what audiences have come to expect from any production of "CHICAGO," from the minimalist, shades of black set design to the sexy costumes cut up to here and down to there. Nothing like a hard bodied man wearing a bowler hat, am I right?
At the center of the spectacular choreography is a cavalcade of delightful characters. Terra MacLeod's vision of diva Velma Kelly is both hilarious and sultry with echoes of an old Hollywood starlet in her renditions of "Class" and "I Can't Do It Alone." A true delight was in the form of Bianca Marroquín as Roxie Hart. I applaud her performance for it was one of the rare instances that I liked the character of Roxie. If you were to give Betty Boop a gun, you'd have Marroquín's Roxie in a nutshell. She was funny, energetic and provided Roxie with a sweet earnestness that I have rarely seen before. In the past, I have always detested Roxie for her lies and treatment of Amos, but Marroquín's interpretation of Roxie actually made me root for her in the end. A special nod goes out to her comedic interplay with orchestra conductor Jesse Kissel.
John O'Hurley, best known as J. Peterman on television's "Seinfeld," plays lawyer Billy Flynn with contagious fun as he swaggers among feather-fanning chorus girls in "All I Care About." Roz Ryan stole the audience's attention as the Cook County dominatrix-matron Mama Morton during her signature anthem "When You're Good To Mama." Another notable performance was Jacob Keith Watson as Roxie's loser husband Amos. Normally the loveable doofus is lost amongst the cast of colorful characters all clad in black, but Amos broke people's hearts during his number "Mr. Cellophane," proving once more everyone loves an underdog.
Thanks to this sizzling production, fall in Louisiana just got a lot hotter.
Article reprinted with permission from www.BroadwayWorld.com
34 reviews, average rating: (4.3 Stars)
WE have just visited to New York to celebrate my wifes 50th birthday on Aug... more
The show was excellent but I was as impressed by the usher who assisted an ... more
I loved the show! Bebe Neuwirth is so talented, and it made my day seeing h... more
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