Chad's Review of "Chicago"
The list of Broadway productions that can be revamped or reworked and still keep its popularity intact to pack a performance hall is very short, like “Les Misérables” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. While these two have also been adapted for the big screen as well, those have resulted in mixed results from critics and moviegoers. “Chicago” seemed to break that mold by even getting an Academy Awards nomination for Best Picture in 2002 and was even seen as bring a renewed interest in the genre of musical films that seemed to fade away after the early 1970s. Given the level of popularity it continues to have, it has also gotten a fresh coat of paint and is on the road in a touring production that has made its way to Dallas’ Winspear Opera House just in time for the holiday season.
The story centers on Velma Kelly (Terra C. MacLeod) and Roxie Hart (Dylis Croman), both serving time for killing their respective lovers while enjoying the media spotlight that comes with their stories that gives them what is seen as instant celebrity. A rivalry quickly develops between them that bleeds over to their lawyer, Billy Flynn (Eddie George), who tries to use their newfound infamy for his own personal gain.
I’m not going to even bury the lead here: I enjoyed the HECK out of this production. The set design is incredibly simplistic, featuring the live band right in the middle of the stage while the story unfolds around them and is top notch, the choreography is CLASSIC Bob Fosse (this was his brainchild), and the performances are simply KILLER. Each and every member of the cast has at least one moment to shine, and NFL legend George is surprisingly effective as Flynn in a role that does not require a lot of vocal dexterity or choreography which is good for a guy that is not as light on his feet as he was in his playing days, and I still have to hand it to the guy on a great performance.
If you are a fan of this production (or even if you are not, but still an admirer of musical theatre in general), you owe it to yourself to take “Chicago” in if you have the opportunity. It is a couple of hours you will not regret spending with a classic production that continues to bring its own special brand of “razzle dazzle”.