Saturday, September 21, 2013

CHICAGO • The Fox

Currently in town for a quick stop at the Fox is Kander and Ebb's 1975 musical, "Chicago".  This story of murder, greed, corruption, and violence in the late twenties, bolstered with an irresistible vaudeville-styled score and the sleek choreography of Bob Fosse, has remained a favorite for decades, holding the record for the longest-running musical revival in Broadway history.

When Roxie Hart (Paige Davis) finds herself in the Cook County slammer for shooting her lover, Fred Casely (Jon-Paul Mateo), she needs a good lawyer to get her neck out of the noose.  A little fame from the papers parlayed into a possible vaudeville turn wouldn't hurt either.  Enter Billy Flynn (John O'Hurley), a slick attorney who, for the right price, can spin whatever story he likes to the press and dazzle any jury with song-and-dance.  Trouble is, he's been retained by Velma Kelly (Terra C. MacLeod).  Velma's a jailhouse diva whose name has dominated the papers, and she's planning a return to show business after her sensationalized trial right when Roxie takes over the headlines and shoves Velma's name down to second billing.  The chasing of celebrity and the manipulation of the press play out with one memorable tune after another, all under the clever conceit of presenting these numbers as a string of glossy vaudeville acts.

John O'Hurley (Billy Flynn).
Considering the number of times the leading roles in this show have been stunt-cast in the past (I mean, really?), it was nice to see an ensemble where the talent was uniformly spread.  John O'Hurley, best known for the role of J. Peterman on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld and host of the game show Family Feud, is featured here as Billy Flynn.  With a nice set of pipes, speaking or singing, O'Hurley embodies the smooth talking lawyer with swagger and pizzazz.  This tour also features Paige Davis as Roxie Hart.  That's right, that Paige Davis.  She held her own as a charismatically engaging and slightly goofy Roxie Hart, handling the choreography and vocals nicely.  Opposite Davis was Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly, and her experience playing this role around the world was evident in every line, song, wry smirk and high kick.  Carol Woods lends her big voice and attitude to Matron "Mama" Morton and there were great turns also from Todd Buonopane, who makes Amos Hart, Roxie's put-upon husband, sweet and endearing, and D. Micciche as the lip-quivering soft-hearted journalist, Mary Sunshine.  The group of talented, firm-bodied ensemble members added oomph to each number with polished performances along with a great sounding orchestra, and the costume and lighting design sharply complement the mood of the show.

This puppy is rolling out of town tomorrow with one more performance tonight and 2 performances Sunday, so get your tickets while you can!


CHICAGO

Book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Music by John Kander
Directed by David Hyslop
Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Blvd.
through September 22 | tickets: $30 - $80
Performances Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

Paige Davis (Roxie Hart).
Photo credit: Len Prince.
Cast:
Paige Davis (Roxie Hart), Terra C. MacLeod (Velma Kelly), John O'Hurley (Billy Flynn), Todd Buonopane (Amos Hart), Carol Woods (Matron "Mama" Morton), D. Micciche (Mary Sunshine), Shamicka Benn-Moser (Go-To-Hell Kitty), Thomas Bevan (Bailiff/Court Clerk), Christophe Caballero (Swing/Dance Captain), Ian Campayno (Doctor/The Jury), Mitchell Dudas (Harry), Naomi Kakuk (Hunyak), Stephanie Maloney (Mona), Jon-Paul Mateo (Fred Casely), Jennifer Mathie (Swing), Drew Nellessen (Aaron), Laura Oldham (Annie), Lindsay Roginski (June), Sherisse Springer (Liz), Christopher VanDenhende (Sergeant Fogarty/The Judge), Colt Adam Weiss (Swing) and Corey Wright (Harrison).

Creative:
Choreography by David Bushman; scenic design by John Lee Beatty; costume design by William Ivey Long; lighting design by Ken Billington; sound design by Scott Lehrer; orchestrations by Ralph Burns

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