San Diego, CA---If you think Kander & Ebb’s 1975 Broadway Musical hit “Chicago” had lost any of its razzle, dazzle, glitz, glitter and guts you haven’t been to see San Diego Musical Theatre’s first show of the 2013 season, this latest eye popping rendition as directed by Ron Kellum. There is still time. It runs through March 3rd at the North Park Birch Theatre and from the looks of things, will pack ‘um in until closing.
With Bob Fosse’s sharp choreography and a host of songs still on the lips of patrons every time the show is mentioned, the1996 revival of it holds the honor of being the longest running musical revival and the longest running American Musical in Broadway history and the third longest running show in Broadway history.’
Anyone within earshot of the music and blessed with a reasonably decent memory can’t forget “All That Jazz”, “Cell Block Tango”, “When You’re Good To Mama”, “All I Care About”, “Roxie” “Mr. Cellophane”, “Class”, and “Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag”. The music is contagious; the story is a sharp satire on the corruption and criminal justices as it applied to celebs in the windy city during the prohibition days of the 1920’s. It has a WOW factor that if done well hits the bull's eye every time.
San Diego Musical Theatre has IT.
That IT includes the ever talented and one of the best Roxie Hart’s seen in some time, Emma Radwick in this the Southern California’s regional theatre premiere (according to SDMC program notes). Radwick sings, she dances, she acts and she all but brings the house down with her constant motion and extremely brilliant performance. Keep your eyes open for her to be seen at many more of our local digs. Her closest adversary, and archenemy until they become friends is Velma Kelly played with expert timing, some hot dancing and strong vocals (“I Can’t Do It Alone”) by Kyra Da Costa. Her images will linger long after you leave the theatre.
Both of these women just about carry the show with sound help from Robert J. Townsend as the sleek, slick and slippery Billy Flynn their razzle dazzle lawyer (a prize role) , Ria Carey as the women’s prison boss, personifies Big Mama and A. Saunders the gossip reporter Mary Sunshine who goes BIG in his/her number “A Little Bit of Good” as does Jason James as Amos Hart, Roxie's 'cellophane' husband.
The male ensemble of muscle bound (can’t help but notice those bods) black clad dancers (Randy Slovacek choreographed) with the six or so female bodies to match and one wonderfully coordinated orchestra of 13 seasoned musicians helmed by musical director Don Le Master all contribute to the overall success of San Diego Musical Theatre’s r e a l l y big shew!
Matthew Novotny’s lighting design is effective and the set, (no credit for this construction) has the stock look seen in every other production of “Chicago” with chairs along the sidelines, a band box look with orchestra around and a set of stairs for entering and leaving. Janet Pitcher’s costumes, black on black some with mesh others a velour look and black tights about sums up the dark and seedy nature of the underworld but can never take away the excitement of the music and dancing in this power house of a show.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: Through March 3rd
Organization: San Diego Musical Theatre
Production Type: Musical
Where: 2891 University Ave, San Diego
Ticket Prices: $26.00-$56.00
Venue: Birch North Park Theatre