Broadway in Chicago presents
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Al Capone, John Dillinger, Drew Peterson, Rod Blagojevich, colorful Chicagoans have always captured the media’s attention. The Windy City’s reputation for corruption and ‘getting away with murder’ is legendary. Not to be overlooked, resident femme fatales represent in a show all about the ladies’ passionate endeavors. For one week only, Broadway in Chicago presents the Tony Award-winning hometown favorite, CHICAGO the Musical. It’s 1920. Having just shot her lover, Roxie Hart joins the sorority of murderesses in Cook County Jail. The press’ infatuation with newbie Roxie irks notorious lady killer Velma. The gals fight for freedom and front page exposure. Add in a smooth-talking lawyer, sassy prison matriarch and slow-witted husband, it’s a deadly recipe for Second City comedy. CHICAGO razzle dazzles as an electrifying crosstown classic… and we had it coming!
Originally produced in 1975 followed by a record-breaking revival in 1996, CHICAGO enthralls with a jazzy, sexy soundtrack. The vibrant music by John Kander entices Fosse movement, on and off stage, as the irreverent lyrics by Scott Faris spin an amusing tale. The good and plenty combination make for unforgettable ear candy. Visually, choreographer Ann Reinking, in the style of Bob Fosse, moves the ensemble with transfixing rhythmic physicality. With the orchestra center stage, the action frames the music. The interesting dynamic creates a vaudevillian-style “Chorusline.” The second act kicks off with full-on, exhilarating engagement. Scantily clad in a plethora of fishnet, see-through, tight, black attire, the dancers allure in sultry and raunchy finery. ‘What ever happened to class?’ Despite the bawdy romping, CHICAGO is most definitely a class act!
The rivaling felons are wickedly hilarious. Terra C. MacLeod (Velma) sizzles as the delicious vamp. A smoldering MacLeod and her gaggle of gals ignite a combustible “Cell Block Tango.” Later, MacLeod and Roz Ryan (Mama) sing a delightful duet musing about the downfall of society. Ryan is hysterical with a whole lot of personality delivered with a powerhouse voice and subtle side gestures. Tracy Shayne (Roxie) camps it up with moxie. She reenacts her crime with enjoyable buffoonery. Shayne plays floppy puppet as John O’Hurley (Billy Flynn) acts the silver-tongued ventriloquist. A dashing Hurley adds his charismatic touch. Who knew J. Peterman could sing and dance? T.W. Smith (Mary Sunshine) drags in his own pitched-perfect sound and delectable feminine charms. Ron Orbach (Amos) endears as the long-suffering husband. Orbach’s self deprecation receives laughs aplenty.
Having seen only the movie, I can say without hesitation the live performance is incomparable! CHICAGO the Musical is a dancing-in-your-seat-humming-in-your-head fantastical experience! ‘And that’s Good, isn’t it? Grand, isn’t it? Great, isn’t it? Swell, isn’t it? Fun, isn’t it? But nothing stays’…. So get a ticket soon!
Loving all things musical, Shawn describes it with ‘rouge my knees.’
At the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Scott Faris
June 8th, 9th and 10th at 7:30pm
June 11th at 2pm and 8pm
June 12th at 2pm and 7:30pm
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission
Production photography courtesy of Paul Kolnik.