Chicago is one of Broadway’s most classic and enduring musicals because it always delivers the magic — and with its own uniquely wry humor. It should be periodically revisited as a prime example of how a riveting plot, mesmerizing choreography, classic music numbers, and superb acting combine in a truly spectacular show. The Ambassador Theatre is a truly gorgeous setting, and is intimate enough to deliver what feels like a close-up-and-personal Broadway show experience.
The play’s tale of murder, fame, skewered justice, PR tweaking, swaying a jury, and a lawyer-on-the-take is as timely as it ever was, if not more so now. Set in late 1920’s Chicago, married Roxie Hart is on trial for murdering her lover in cold blood, and her sleek, expert lawyer has to transform an adulterous woman of dubious integrity into a sympathetic, likable character for the press and jury. Watch him effortlessly mold the media like putty, razzle dazzle the jury, and even convince Roxy that he knows what she wants better than she does.
Chicago-born choreographer Bob Fosse was a veritable master of movement, and gave us jazz hands, the jazz hat with one-eye reveal, the thigh-high slit tights and black, sheer legs, the chair drape, the chair twist, the Slither, the hands-free smoker, and some of the most sultry choreography ever seen on a stage. This show’s choreography, by Anne Reinking, was a tribute to Bob Fosse. All That Jazz, Cabaret (and many of his other works) underscore his theatrical genius.
The role of Roxie Hart has been played by many a famous actress/singer (Brandy Norwood, Renee Zellweger, Ashlee Simpson, Liza Minelli, Christie Brinkley, Brooke Shields, Michelle Williams, and Bebe Neuwirth, to name a few), and current lead Bianca Morroquin is the youngest to play the role. She’s also the first Mexican actress to have a starring role on Broadway. Her interpretation of Roxie is that of an impish, charming, simple woman who yearns for the spotlight, and her acting chops and singing are both spot on. Velma Kelly is another major character — Roxie’s nemesis — and she is currently played by impressive award-winning actress Amra-Faye Wright. Lawyer Billy Flynn is played by the mesmerizing Jason Danieley, who takes full command of the stage, and Amos Hart is played to the hilt by Raymond Bokhour (he’ll break your heart). R. Lowe is a fantastic belter/triller as press maven Mary Sunshine.
Here’s a teaser for Bianca Morroquin in Chicago:
Go see Chicago, especially if you haven’t yet. You’ll recognize some of the songs, and you’ll definitely leave with at least three of them in mind and on autoplay for days on end — that’s how amazing they are.