Highly Recommended **** Think Black hats, black tight sexy costumes, walking sticks and lots of dance numbers with slow movement, and you will be thinking about our city’s own Bob Fosse ( there is even a street named for him up in the Ravenswood neighborhood where he grew up)- he is Chicago and onstage at The Bank Of America Theatre as part of the Broadway In Chicago series, is his masterful show- “Chicago, the musical”, now in its umpteenth revival and each time it comes to town, I am reminded of the brilliance of this man and what he brought to the musical theater. This one was written with fred ebb ( lyrics, and book with Fosse) and John Kander (music). These are the men who he worked with on the fabulous “Cabaret”..
It was 1996 when this play first opened and it is still going strong. While the lead characters are what the main attraction is, it is the ensemble or “company” as they prefer being called, that truly makes this show the energetic theatrical experience that it hjas become. The original direction and choreography created by Fosse are still intact and still mind-boggling to watch and the performers who pull off the amazing feats of body prowess he has created ( sometimes twice in one day) are all in great physical shape. They would have to be to do his dance numbers.
I am sure everyone knows what The story of this production is- but for those who might have not been paying attention, it is the story of one Roxie Hart ( the adorable Bianca Marroquin, who is as bubbly and energetic as I have seen in this role, and who reminds me very much of a young Mary Tyler Moore), a young housewife/nightclub dancer who murders her lover. She convinces the public that it was in self-defense, although we know it wasn’t and after learning about another cellmate’s plan, hires the best lawyer in Chicago to save her butt- one Billy Flynn ( another solid performance by John O’Hurley, who proves that he has the stage presence and vocal range to make people forget his Seinfeld years and his “dancing with the stars”- he has Flynn “down”). to be her attorney.
He has been representing another headline grabbing show-biz would be, Velma Kelly ( a dynamic and powerful performance by Terra C. MacLeod). These two powerhouses truly make these roles their own and with the cast of solid performers surrounding them, make this one of the finest productions that has come to town. It is only here for a week, and I often wonder why one of our local companies has not looked at this one to do for let’s say three or four weeks, so more Chicagoans can see the show that bears its name.
What takes place from the crime to the end is a barrage of crafty one up -manships where the one who is in the headlines will get the best of everything. In fact, almost everyone in the play is a character that is in need but for their own sake and what they are willing to do to get what they want is whatever it takes. Only Roxie’s husband, Amos ( Ron Orbach, who it seems has played this role for his career) is a real person who loves her and despite all that confronts him, always remains true to her and himself. Yes , he is ” Mister Cellophane ” and unlike the others has “no exit music’, but he is the only character we care about- for real.
The songs are memorable; “All That Jazz”, “Razzle Dazzle”, ,”When Your Good To Mama ( a fine rendition by Carol Woods as Mama Morton), “Cell Block Tango”, where each girl on death row tells her story- “He Had It Coming”, “Class”, “Nowadays” and much more. Kander and Ebb have a way of telling the story through their music and in this show, the entire story is in fact a musical production where even the band takes part ( and is on stage for the entire show). 2 hours and thirty minutes of pure magic on Chicago’s most intimate of stages, the one perfect for Chicago,the musical”, The Bank Of America Theatre, where this production will continue through Sunday, March 2nd with performances:
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m
Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $30-$120 and can be purchased at this theater located at 18 West Monroe Street or any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by calling the BroadwayInChicago Ticketline at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com
To see what others say visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Chicago”