Most obvious in Chicago, Broadway’s longest-running American musical, is the excellence of each member as singer-dancer-actor.
Choreography by Ann Reinking is utterly riveting, whether executed by the entire cast, by two, three dancers or by soloists. The women are particularly fascinating in their verve, grace and pliancy. There is not a single dull movement in Chicago; every minute throbs with robust life, electrifying, piquant spirit, the dancers amazingly precise and unified.
John Kander’s music is devastating in its rhythmic patterns, the songs belted out in similarly devastating manner.
All costumes are in black; the women are in varying stages of dress or eye-catching undress. Terrific scenes show two actresses, each singing and dancing while clinging to a steep ladder.
In a highly unique, singular setting, the orchestra is onstage at center, enclosed in an ascending square platform.
In the musical, nightclub dancer Roxie Hart murders her lover but her husband employs a clever, manipulative lawyer who rallies media to Roxie’s side and has her acquitted. The riotous singing and dancing dominate the musical, submerging the plot which surfaces only in the final act through a most unusual trial with only one member of the jury! Some characters of the cast address the audience directly in both acts to enhance appeal and magnetism.
Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart and Teresa MacLeod as Roxie’s friend Velma Kelly vibrantly sing and dance their way through. So do the rest of the huge cast, among them vivacious Allison Blair McDowell as “Mama” Morton, Jacob Keith Watson as Amos Hart, and Jeff McCarthy as Billy Flynn.
Chicago was staged at the incredibly huge Solaire Theater under the musical direction of Rob Fisher, based on the book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fossie. The lyrics are by Ebb.
The last impressions the theater-goer takes away with him are the consistently riveting, irresistible dancing, and the tart humor.