"Smart, steamy and a heck of a lot of fun... one of New Line's strongest efforts"
-- St. Louis Post Dispatch
"The New Line production reveals something that neither of the flashier, more expensive New York productions embodied. . . All in all, this is the most fully realized New Line production I've yet seen"
– Dennis Brown, Riverfront Times
the creators of Cabaret, and other great musicals, CHICAGO
is one of Broadway's true masterpieces. Rejecting the stripped down leather clad
pretensions of the recent Broadway revival, New Line will return to the 1920s-style
murder, greed, adultery, and treachery that the legendary Bob Fosse
masterfully crafted in the original production. This is not a show for the
faint-hearted or easily offended.
Based on Maurine
Watkin's newspaper reports
of two actual Chicago women,
May Annan and Belva Gaertner,
who murdered their lovers and parlayed their crimes into fame and
suggests, in its own hilariously cynical way, that a world of
crooked lawyers, famous murderers, and a public who loves violence is just as
frightening as the crimes themselves, and that prohibition had caused the public
to lose all respect for the law to the point that the "Merry
Murderesses" were only slightly outside the mainstream. Though
the show's creator Bob Fosse always said Chicago
was his reaction to Watergate, it is perhaps more relevant now than ever
before. The media continue to make celebrities of criminals, while our
government continues to try to legislate against perceived immorality; it was alcohol in the 1920s,
but today it's sexuality, prayer in school, drugs, and gay marriage. And with the
advent of Court TV, and the media circuses surrounding the
trials of O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Lorena Bobbitt, the Menendez brothers, Susan Smith,
Andrea Yates, and others, we've
seen the media make a mockery of our judicial system. With the right lawyer,
enough money, the right clothes, and a modicum of acting ability, anyone can be
acquitted in our society today. Chicago points the finger of blame at us
for allowing all this to happen, and yet it does so with the kind of show biz
flash that leaves an audience breathless. This is raw, nasty decadence at its razzle-dazzle,
up-close-and-personal best. Don't miss it -- if you've only seen the revival at the Fox,
you haven't really seen Chicago...
explore more? We recommend:
Background Notes on Chicago by Scott Miller, New Line Artistic Director
The script of Maurine Watkins' non-musical, 1926 play Chicago (on which the musical is based), including the actual news articles by Watkins about the real murders, and also some great background about the play and the actual events it's based on
The film Roxie Hart on videotape, based on the same source material as the musical Chicago
An insightful comparison of the original Broadway production and the current revival
The Maurine Dallas Watkins website, dedicated to the woman who reported on the actual murder cases and then wrote the Broadway play Chicago
Virtual Vaudeville, a fabulous website that puts you inside the famous Union Square vaudeville theatre, allowing you to tour the theatre, see performances from various angles, etc.
Some great books about Chicago's original director Bob Fosse -- Razzle Dazzle: The Life and Work of Bob Fosse, All His Jazz: The Life and Death of Bob Fosse, and Bob Fosse's Broadway. Also the official Bob Fosse website
Articles about the big vaudeville houses in Chicago in the 1920s -- the Orpheum, the Chicago, the State-Lake, -- from the Jazz Age Chicago website. Also a brief history of Music Halls and Vaudeville, the Vaudeville Memories website, the American Vaudeville Museum site, a dictionary of Vaudeville Slang, and a cool Vaudeville Q & A.
Bios and pictures of Texas Guinan, the model for Chicago's Velma Kelly (or try another cool Guinan bio); Sophie Tucker, the model for Chicago's Mama Morton; comedian Bert Williams, the model for Chicago's Amos Hart; bandleader Ted Lewis, the model for Chicago's Billy Flynn; opera singer Rosa Ponselle, one of the models for Chicago's Mary Sunshine; and the cross-dressing Vaudeville star Julian Eltinge, the other model for Mary Sunshine
The Cast of New Line's CHICAGO
Stephanie Brown (Velma Kelly), Alice Kinsella (Roxie Hart), Michael Brightman (Billy Flynn), Terry Meddows (Amos Hart), Lavonne Byers (Mama Morton), Mo Monahan (Mary Sunshine), David Blake, Mara Bollini, Christine Brent, Jeremy Brown, Lisa Doerge, Wayne Easter, Frank Gutierrez, Jodi Hertz, Katie Nestor, Jeffrey Pruett
Scott Miller (director), John Ricroft (choreographer), Matt Pickar (asst. director), Justin Barisonek (set designer), Paul Summers (lighting designer), Evie Baum (costume designer)
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