Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicago the Musical with Broadway in Chicago

“You are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery ---all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”

At the beginning of the show a woman in black utters those line and out of all those things at least she's telling the truth, what she leaves out is you are also seeing a story a brilliant story sadly as current today as it was ahead of its time in 1975. The times just needed a while to catch up to the show.

The current tour playing a limited one-week engagement at the Oriental Theater, the Tony award winning Kander & Ebb smash hit “Chicago” brings a freshness and excitement that I haven't seen in several other touring companies of this 15 year old hit that I haven't seen in a while.

Thanks to the rapid flying direction by directed by Scott Faris, recreated from the revivals original direction by Walter Bobbie the show moves around at a quick piece, finds some originality, which is a joy considering he's working with a piece that by now is so well known thanks to the Oscar winning film and numerous television performances. If Bristol Palin is performing a number on “Dancing with the Stars” then there's a possibility that the show might be a tad bit overexposed. While Mr. Faris shows an assurance that never seems to falter, he is not the only one quilty of this heavenly crime. His partner Gary Chryst choreography while recreating Ann Reinking's moves brings an electricity to the moves that will leave you feeling like you just got a workout in your seat.

Their behind the scenes work shows off with the onstage performances notably Seinfel's John O'Hurley who brings an easiness and comedic flair to the role of lawyer Billy Flynn to the point that you almost felt like he was the star of the show. I say almost because of what heart the show may pretend to have is those killer dames of Tracy Shayne as Roxie Hart and Terra C.MacLeod's Velma Kelly. Ms. Shayne who plays the role with a bitter jadedness that might come across as being detached from the proceedings comes to life during her big first act solo “Roxie” and sells the heck out of “Me and My Baby.” From the moment she makes her appearance Terra C.MacLeod plays Velma Kelly as her life depended on it, as which it should since Velma in the right hands can be the show stealer, and in her telegraphed to the last role performance Ms. C.MacLeod comes dangerously close to doing just that. Ron Orbach as the put upon Amos Hart shows that no one could look right past him during his number “Mr. Chellophane,” while Roz Ryan plays her performance of Mamma Morton into another state but has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. The rest of the cast performed this show with a freshness and excitement that could be felt at the back of the theater.

The sets, costumes, and lighting hold up to the high standard quality of this production. In a town where all those sins are a common occurrence this is simply a show that can not be missed.

“Chicago” is playing at the Oriental Theater at 24 W. Randolph Street thru Sunday June 12th. Individual tickets are on sale now and range from $30 to $95. Tickets are available at all Broadway in Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St: 151 W Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Prairie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at Tickets are available now for groups of 15 or more by calling Broadway in Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.

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