Broadway’s record-breaking spectacular “Chicago” returned to the Fox in rare form. The popular Tony-winning revival lived up to its reputation with thrilling razzle-dazzle, especially its signature dancing.
First on Broadway in 1975, this touring “Chicago,” based on the 1996 revival, takes us back to the 1920s. Roxy Hart, an adulterous housewife, kills her lover. With the help of a sleazy headline-grabbing lawyer Billy Flynn, she captures the nation and not only wants an acquittal but also fame and fortune.
She’s not the only lady killer hoping for a reprieve. Velma Kelly was a big star until she caught her husband cheating with her sister. Her sensational murder case is overshadowed by Roxy’s breaking news: She’s pregnant.
The two adversaries eventually become allies, but we’re plunged into a surprisingly relevant and universal tale of criminals-as-celebrities, lawyers grabbing spotlights, and justice made immaterial. Even in modern times, “Chicago” continues to strike a chord.
With music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, the musical presents one show-stopping number after another, with striking original choreography by legendary Bob Fosse. “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz” were two of the standouts.
The list of acclaimed leading ladies who’ve starred in the Velma and Roxy roles is long, but the tour is fortunate to pair Tara C. MacLeod and Dylis Croman together. They are electric.
MacLeod displayed star power immediately when she opened the show with “All That Jazz.”
Jennifer Fouche was memorable as Big Mama Morton, belting out high notes and giving “When You’re Good to Mama” a fresh new twist.
Brent Barrett was noteworthy as slick Billy Flynn, showing us how such a scoundrel doesn’t care about love. His rendition of “We Both Reached for the Gun,” as he controls Roxie like a ventriloquist dummy, was one of the evening’s highlights.
However, the top dog, ironically, was the character meant to be colorless and fade into black – Amos Hart, Roxy’s jilted husband. Paul Vogt’s powerful and moving vocals to “Mister Cellophane” was the night’s best, despite the dismal dancing.
Choreographer David Bushman recreated some of Fosse’s and Ann Reinking’s original work, and retained its importance in this show.
William Ivey Long’s costume designs, using various forms of black lingerie, boosted the show’s look.
When done right, “Chicago” is a fun musical that you can experience over and over again without any love lost.
The weekend run may have been brief, but the show made its mark in our memories, and eager to see it next go-round.
The national tour of “Chicago” played the Fox March 2-4. Did you see the show? Your comments are welcome below.