“Chicago” landed on the stage at the Broward Performing Arts Center last night bringing all the ‘razzle dazzle’ that has made it the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and the third longest running show on Broadway opening in 1996. From the opening, this musical with lyrics by Fred Ebb and music by John Kander, originally conceived, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse never lets down with all in the cast triple threats of dancing, singing and acting..
“Chicago” is based on a true story about two women, Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, the former fatally shooting her lover and the latter her husband. A reporter, Maurine Dallas Watkins, in 1926, wrote a play about it. In 1942 a hit movie opened starring Ginger Rogers, now called “Roxie Hart” with the character based on Annan. In 1975 a full out musical by Ebb, Kander and Fosse opened on Broadway about Roxie and Velma, the latter based on Gaertner, presenting, in vaudeville form, women who became celebrities after getting away with murder going on the vaudeville circuit to cash in on their noriotory. In 2003 an Oscar winning Best Picture was produced. Now, 38 years later, after first seeing the stage as a musical, it is as relevant to our society as it has always been.
The star above the title, John O’Hurley, plays Billy Flynn, the lawyer who very easily manipulates the press including the head reporter, called Mary Sunshine, played by D. Micciche, just as he uses Roxie as a puppet. Everyone uses someone to get something for themselves whether it is Roxie (Anne Horak) using her husband Amos (Todd Buonopane) or Velma (Terra MacLeod) using the prison matron Mama Morton (Carol Woods) or both women ‘working’ Flynn as he uses them to make the money he loves so much.
The score by Kander and Ebb is one of their best with showstoppers like “All That Jazz” and “The Cell Block Tango”while Fosse’s choreography, redone by Ann Reinking, fills the stage with sex, and innuendo, with many of the cast in costumes, by William Ivey Long, showing a lot of skin. Buonopane stops the show singing “Mr Cellophane” but it is Anne Horak, with the thinnest legs I have ever seen on a dancer, and Terra MacLeod, who razzle dazzle us from the opening “All THat Jazz” to the last number “Hot Honey Rag”.
“Chicago” is a razzle-dazzle ‘em Broadway musical that works on all levels.
1st act 1 hour and 9 minutes Intermission 20 minutes 2nd act 55 minutes
Next show at the Broward Performing Arts will be “The Book of Mormon” November 26