Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.


Brenda Braxton and
Bianca Marroquin

If you are looking for a little "razzle dazzle," Washington's National Theatre is the place to be. The National is currently playing host to the newest touring production of the hit Broadway musical, Chicago. The musical kicks off its tour with a three week stint here in the nation's capital.

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
June 10th —June 29th
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander and Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Walter Bobbie Choreographed by Ann Reinking (in the style of Bob Fosse)
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Ticket Information: 1-800-722-4990 or Rush seats go on sale at 10 AM each morning at the box office only (cash only for the rush seats); they are $20 plus $1.25 restoration fee.

Cast List

Velma Kelly: Brenda Braxton
Roxie Hart: Bianca Marroquin
Fred Casely: Kevin Neil McCready
Sergeant Fogarty: Lloyd Culbreath
Amos Hart: Ray Bokhour
Liz: Nicole Bridgewater
Annie: Mamie Duncan-Gibbs
June: Marianne McCord
Hunyak: Caitlin Carter
Mona: Jennifer Mackensie Dunne
Matron "Mama" Morton: Roz Ryan
Billy Flynn: Gregory Harrison
Mary Sunshine: R. Bean
Go-To-Hell-Kitty: Christine Brooks
Harry: Steven Sofia
The Doctor: Mark C. Reis
Aaron: Bernard Dotson
The Judge: Lloyd Culbreath
The Bailiff: Eddie Bennett
Martin Harrison: Mark C. Reis
Court Clerk: Eddie Bennett
The Jury: Dante A. Sciarra

Photo: Stephanie Pfriender Stylander
Makeup: Bianca Alexander/Jon Hennessey for MAC

-- Tracy Lyon

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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