Book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by David Hyslop
Choreography by David Bushman
Re-created Ann Reinking
who used the Bob Fosse style
Musical Direction John Monaco
Produced by Broadway In Chicago
“Give them the old razzle dazzle…razzle dazzle them”
Brassy Chicago sizzles ever more
Despite the terrific film version, Chicago on stage still reigns. As many times as I have seen Chicago razzle dazzle, this production reached me as much as any other. I think it was the flawless Bob Fosse-style dance, or maybe Kander & Ebb’s score, or maybe the vibrant orchestra, or maybe all of the above? I loved this toe-tapping, slick, sensual, erotic musical. Chicago proves that you don’t necessarily need a lavish set or flashy costumes to mount a hit musical. Rather a bouncy ’20s jazz score set to clever lyrics combined with trade mark Bob Fosse-styled dances expertly performed with a variety of musical styles are all that is needed for a wonderful show. Chicago is sophisticated, stylish adult entertainment.
From the moment you hear the jazzy whining of the horns and the hypnotic rhythms of “All That Jazz” and see the boys and girls sleekly moving in unison, you know you’re in for a treat. John Kander’s music has a jazz based style with a tango, waltz, blues, and unique dance-inspiring hauntingly melodies that cry out for movement. Chicago is signature Bob Fosse style, sleek, sexy, smooth, swift, and sophisticated, featuring arm and leg movements that evolve into unique formations and energetic interaction among the dancers, resulting in pure erotic pulsating rhythms.
The story is about woman who kill their lovers and flaunt justice in a Roaring 20’s satirical fable that jabs at society and the legal system. Dylis Croman is the sexy Roxie Hart and Terra C. MacLeod is Velma Kelly—both are outstanding triple threats, each can sing, are fine comic actors—and both are marvelous dancers. Croman brings cuteness to Roxie, while MacLeod is the more sensual Velma. Both land their songs and dances deftly. The show ending duets “Nowadays” and “Hot Honey Rag” danced and sang perfectly.
The ensemble was the finest I’ve seen dancing Ann Reinking-Bob Fosse style numbers. “Roxie,” “Tap Dance,” and the show stopper “Razzle Dazzle” were slick and flawless. I’ve not witnessed Fosse dances better performed. The ladies justify their crimes with the haunting “Cell Block Tango.”
John O’Hurley brings a big voice and a commanding presence to the shyster Billy Flynn. His “All I Care About” and “Razzle Dazzle” lead the way. Jessie Wildman, as Matron Morton, belted “When You’re Good to Mama” and the sarcastic “Class” with MacLeod skillfully. Paul C. Vogt wins our hearts as the loser Amos Hart as he tenderly delivers “Mister Cellophane.”
This touring production is fresh, energetic, funny, and well rehearsed, featuring an “A” list ensemble of Broadway veteran dance pros. The orchestra sounded terrific with exceptional horn work. Kander’s tuneful score is in good hands here.
If you want to see an expert Broadway musical, this production of Chicago sure qualifies. If you’ve never seen Chicago and/or you’ve only seen the film, then do get to the Cadillac Palace to witness the “real” Chicago. There is nothing like a Bob Fosse dance show. Chicago is Fosse’s best. It is thrilling and so polished. Kudos to Broadway In Chicago for bringing back this classic. Hurry, it is only here through Sunday.
At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com, tickets $30- $100, Wed. May 11 at 2 & 7:30 pm, Thur. May 12 at 7:30, Fri.May 13 at 7:30 pm, Sat. May 15 at 2 & 8 pm, Sunday, May 15 at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through May 15, 2016