By Desmond Sam
The musical Chicago is raw and has an awkward structure that proves originality. Everything from the set to the costumes and cast is different, but captivating.
Chicago focuses on a woman named Roxie who is an inspiring actress. She is married, but has an affair and ends up killing her lover. She goes to jail and becomes a star because of the publicity surrounding her trial. Velma, Roxie’s cellmate, also wants to be famous, so she and Roxie have some issues. In the end, they realize that they need each other to reach their goals.
The cast makes this show a spectacular piece of art. Deidre Goodwin (Velma Kelly) and Roz Ryan (Matron “Mama” Morton) each have amazing voices that really stand out. Goodwin begins the show with a favorite by all Broadway lovers, “All that Jazz”. Then, Ryan performs “When You’re Good to Mama” a song made famous by Queen Latifah in the movie version. Ryan even talks to the audience, making us part of the festivities.
The orchestra is unique because the pit is right in the middle of the stage. The conductor is also a standout performer because she communicates with the cast throughout the show. She isn’t just a conductor, but also a character in the show.
The dancing made my jaw drop. It had a bit of jazz, contemporary and even ballet. The music sometimes creates a Spanish feel or a Blues touch that affect the dancing and the mood of the theatre. The show is able to exploit the glitz and glamour of the vaudeville era by using only chairs, simple black costumes and an occasional ladder. With so few props and costumes, the cast is really able to express the show’s true spirit, proving that less is more.
I recommend Chicago because many teenagers crave fame. Many people believe that criminal acts are the easiest gateways to fame. One thing that they never notice is that fame doesn’t last forever, especially when you use murder as your main talent. This is the theme of the show and makes it one of the top dogs of Broadway.
HOW TO SEE THE SHOW: $31.50 general rush • Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St.