March 24, 2012, matinee performance
Background: I don’t know why it has taken me so long to see the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago! It’s only been running for 16 years! Having seen and enjoyed the movie version (and knowing that the live show is almost always better than the movie), I have been meaning to see Chicago on Broadway for some time. My opportunity came this past December when my father asked for Chicago tickets for Christmas. And so a father-daughter trip to NYC was planned for March 24th to see Chicago on Broadway.
Synopsis: Chicago, the 4th longest running Broadway musical, chronicles the intertwined stories of Roxie Hart, an adulterous murderess, and Velma Kelly, a vaudeville performer turned murderess, as they await trial on death row. Both women become instant celebrities in the media due to their “crimes of passion”, and set out to use this newfound celebrity to their advantage. Set in 1920‘s Chicago, the show pokes fun at a corrupt criminal justice system that glamorizes murder and crime.
Comments: After finally seeing the Broadway production of Chicago, I now understand why it’s the longest running Broadway revival! As the orchestra begins the familiar first notes of the opening number, “All That Jazz”, the audience is immediately transported to 1920’s Chicago where crime, passion, and corruption abound. The show is a triple threat in itself with great vaudeville music by Kander and Ebb, smart, sexy choreography, and a clever, entertaining storyline!
While the entire cast was excellent, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma and Bianca Marroquin as Roxie gave standout performances and had great chemistry together as the two murderesses vying for the spotlight. I remember not liking the character of Roxie when I saw the movie version a few years ago, but Bianca Marroquin’s portrayal of Roxie is actually quite charming, and I couldn’t dislike the character this time! She did a lot of little things to make the character more funny- mannerisms, accents, facial expressions, etc. and brought out the more childish side of the character. I thought she was a great actress and I would see her again in any show.
I think everyone who sees Chicago looks forward to Mama Morton’s number, “When You’re Good To Mama” and Carol Woods did not disappoint. She can really SING. All I can say is WOW. Another great performance was Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart. His performance of “Mister Cellophane” was heartbreaking. Poor Amos.
I loved that the orchestra was on the stage and I thought the conductor’s involvement in the storyline was creative as well.
Favorite numbers included: “All That Jazz” (it pulls you right into the story and sets the mood for the show), “Cell Block Tango” (very funny and very entertaining), “When You’re Good To Mama” (as already stated, Carol Woods can sing), “We Both Reached for the Gun” (love the “puppet”), “Roxie” (especially her long monologue leading up to the song), and “Mister Cellophane” (again, poor Amos).
The Verdict (no pun intended): If you’re in NYC and can’t decide which show to see, Chicago is a sure thing. Check out Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre!