"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

CHICAGO

From 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 so 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, Beulah May Annan and Belva Gaertner, who murdered their lovers and parlayed their crimes into fame and stardom, Chicago 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...  Buy your tickets now!  

 

Want to explore more? We recommend:

The original Broadway cast album of Chicago or the more complete, but less exciting revival cast album. Also, the vocal selections from Chicago  

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

Time magazine's preview and review of the big screen Chicago

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

University of Louisville's outstanding, comprehensive website about the 1920s. Also, Texas Guinan's Speakeasy where you can experience the 1920s and learn the origin of the label "sob sister"

A timeline of 1920s literature, music, and film; and a great site on American cultural history in the 1920s

Our contemporary equivalents of Chicago's celebrity murderesses Roxie and Velma -- O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Andrea Yates, the Menendez brothers, Lorena Bobbitt, and Jeffrey Dahmer 

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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