The only problem with the production of “Chicago” that opened at the Bank of America Theatre Feb. 26 is that it is in its namesake town only through March 2, 2014.
Having seen both the good and the bad, fine interpretations and supposedly professional productions that would have given choreographer and book co-writer Bob Fosse a migraine, it was a pleasure to witness a “Chicago” where the orchestration, singing and dancing hit Fosse’s exacting standards.
Bianca Marroquin who played Roxie Hart on Broadway in 2002 nailed the role with her dance moves while exuding a charming personality meant to deceive. TV watchers of “Seinfeld” would expect John O’Hurley, alter ego J. Peterman, to be a suave Billy Flynn but he probably surprised some audience members with his fine voice.
Broadway, film and TV star Carol Woods brought down the house as Matron “Mama” Morton with “When You’re Good to Mama.”
Terra C. MacLeod’s cool interpretation of Velma Kelly, a role she has played from Broadway to foreign premieres and on tour, is the right balance to Marroquin’s energetic Roxie.
Ron Orbach was believable as Roxie’s nebbish husband, Amos.
Of course with a show originally choreographed by Fosse, later adapted by Ann Reinking on Broadway and re-created by David Bushman, you would expect exceptional dancing. After all, it includes the famed “All That Jazz” number.
Among the many good points of the current production is the overall high dance ability. MacLeod, Marroquin and the Company: “The Boys” and The Girls,” were all amazingly adept.
In “Chicago” the orchestra is always placed front and center, almost as another character. Conductor Jesse Kissel and the orchestra did justice to John Kander’s music with their "Razzle” dazzling beat.
The book by Fred Ebb and Fosse and lyrics by Ebb, takes a light-hearted approach to the free-wheeling, gangster-style reputation of Chicago in the late 1920’s. Directed by David Hyslop, the current production fortunately builds on its spoof of criminal activity and news reporters’ hunger for headlines with exaggerated actions and clever acting.
This touring production of “Chicago” is highly entertaining and good enough to see again.
Details: “Chicago” is at the Bank of America Theatre at 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago, IL through March 2, 2014. As part of Broadway in Chicago, more information and tickets are at www.BroadwayinChicago.com and 800-775-2000.