Saturday, January 11, 2014


Last night, I travelled with friends to The Palace Theater to see Chicago, the long running Broadway musical billed as "a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery-all those things we hold near and dear to our heart" and also a production I'd wanted to see since becoming enamored with the popular movie adaptation over a decade ago. It tells the story of Roxie Hart (Bianca Marroquin), a low rent floozie with big dreams of stardom on the vaudeville stage, who murders her lover in cold blood, hires hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn (John O'Hurley) for her dazzling defense, and strings along her dupe husband (Ron Orbach) while overtaking the begrudging Velma Kelly (Terra MacLeod) as the Windy City's top mistress of murderer's row. With music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, from a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse, and based a stage play from 1926, the era in which it is set, Chicago is a lively presentation with several knockout numbers (Carol Woods was a highlight as Matron "Mama" Morton), a fun, mercurial performance from Marroquin, and O'Hurley (of Seinfeld fame) well cast as the "silver tongued prince of the courtroom." I enjoyed how the orchestra was set right on stage facing the audience with the action taking place as one with it, but I was a little disappointed how there were no other sets used and very little variation in terms of costumes. There was also a slightly unfortunate incident when MacLeod was replaced after intermission due to illness and her understudy (who I thought had a fantastic voice) got tangled in the curtain during the final number, though she and her costar handled the snafu smoothly. Still, through performance, song, dance and its great source music, Chicago delivered.