Chicago is known to many through the highly successful 1996 revival that still runs on Broadway today. The show reached an even wider audience when Broadway alum Rob Marshall transformed it into an Academy Award winning film. But don’t go to this show expecting to see Rob Marshall's vision up on stage. The piece is definitely the baby of choreographer Ann Reinking and director Walter Bobbie.
Choreographed in the style of the legendary Bob Fosse, the musical is fluid and sensual. Bobbie’s direction provides just enough bite to keep things interesting, and the score by John Kander and Fred Ebb is a simply a treat.
This tour features an incredibly effective cast, starting off with Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart. Ms. Marroquin delivers a Roxie that is part sprite and part spitfire. Each musical number is performed with zeal. Her physicality and attitude are eye-catching and her performance as a whole brings to mind a younger Shirley MacLaine.
Brenda Braxton is a bold and brassy Velma. Her commanding performance is a highlight of the show. Equally dynamic is Roz Ryan as Matron “Mama” Morton. Her delivery of “When You're Good to Mama” literally stops the show.
Television and stage actor Gregory Harrison takes on the role of Billy Flynn. His slick portrayal of the rather sleazy lawyer is right on the mark.
The group is backed up by a terrific ensemble, bringing the whole piece together as successfully as the Broadway production.
Over the years, Chicago has become a mainstay in the theater world. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this truly excellent show. Chicago runs through June 29th.
The National Theatre
Velma Kelly: Brenda Braxton