Following in the high-heeled dancing footsteps of legendary Broadway great Gwen Verdon, Bianca Marroquin puts her own adorable spin on Roxie Hart, in "Chicago, the Musical," now in its run at the Bank of America Theatre, downtown Chicago, now through March 2nd.
Her portrayal of Roxie is fresh, vibrant, spunky, funny, and manipulative. Of particular note are her vaudeville style renditions of the numbers, "Me and My Baby," and "Nowadays," whose lyrics are a personal favorite. She brings a cool, new brightness to this complex character. Terra C. Macleod, as Velma Kelly, brings a true, authentic Bob Fosse glitz and glamour to her role, as vaudeville showstopper - turned killer, always on her toes, with perkiness and high energy. Her gravelly, raspy strong vocals serve as the perfect balance to Marroquin's brassy, bold belting of the show's classic tunes. Their duet of "My Own Best Friend" was indeed the pair's culminating number.
How very perfectly fitting it is indeed to have Chicago grace the stage at the majestic red and gold adorned Bank of America Theatre in Chicago. The show features performers from all walks of the entertainment industry, unleashing their 'jazz hands' and 'inner vamps,' enticing musical theatre lovers of all generations. Over the decades, audiences have been 'razzle-dazzled' by Kander and Ebb's show stopping musical numbers and grand choreography (Ann Reinking). Even though it's a story set in the 20's, its message about deceit, corruption, betrayal, murder, and mayhem is timeless and resonating, showing how things have never really changed.
Roxie and Velma exemplify this universal appeal, as does Billy Flynn (a particularly nice surprise is that this role is played by John O'Hurley), as he razzle-dazzles the court system, exonerating each of his clients. As a seasoned performer (Dancing with the Stars), he glides up and down the stage, with flair and confidence, as the dancing, feathery showgirls serenade him with "All I Care About." Carol Woods, as matron Mama Morton, introduces another powerful woman into the mix, and looks like she's having the time of her life, as she belts out "When You're Good to Mama," with finesse and pizazz. Chicago has drawn raves from audiences worldwide, and it is clear that this production will no doubt follow the tradition. The stark, bare bones black and gold staging (set design, John Lee Beatty) perfectly complement the black-clad, fedora topped ensemble (costume design, William Ivey Long), but somehow lack the shimmery, sparkly, sequined designs the audience may expect.
The band, generously showcased, onstage, in a clear cut black square frame, is a standout of the entire show. The musicians, in true Chicago 20's jazz era style, steam up the stage, with jazz, sass, brass, and most of all, class. The show is a veritable gold mine of Kander & Ebb's classic showtunes, strewn together by the amazingly talented Bob Fosse, and director Walter Bobbie, who keeps the heart of the show pulsing throughout.
The Bank of America Theatre consistently presents smart, seductive choices for its audiences. So, "
'come on down, paint the town, join the fun...' in Chicago, the decadently brilliant, sexy tale of fame, fortune, and "all that jazz."
Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe
Thurs and Fri. 7:30PM; Saturday, 2 & 8 PM; Sunday, 2 and 730 PM
(800) 775-2000 www.broadwayinchicago.com