Hal Linden joins Vegas "CHICAGO"
Tonight Ben Vereen gives his final performance as sleazeball lawyer Billy Flynn in the Las Vegas production of Chicago at the Mandalay Bay Hotel/Casino theatre. Vereen has been with the show since it opened in March. Taking his place will be Hal Linden beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
Linden, no stranger to musicals, is probably best known from the television series Barney Miller. His Broadway credits include On A Clear Day, The Apple Tree, Bells Are Ringing and many more including The Rothschilds in which he was honored with a Tony Award. His cast recording of Anything Goes is considered to be the best recording of this show by many.
Last week the Chicago shuffle began when both Marilu Henner and Mamie Duncan-Gibbs finished their stints as Roxie and Velma. Charlotte d'Amboise and Jasmine Guy have taken their places and will play the merry murderesses through November. Ernie Sabella, as Mr. Cellophane, has been replaced by Michael Tucci and M. Spencer as Mary Sunshine gives her final performance tonight. The new Mary Sunshine will be Broadway's own D. Sabella. Matron Mama Morton also saw a switch when Roz Ryan came from the Broadway Company and Marcia Lewis returned to her home on the Great White Way.
It's anyone's guess whether Chicago in Las Vegas will extend beyond December. The show is a surefire hit with the audiences but some little details have to be worked out involving contracts if the show continues into the millenium. Still, the Mandalay Bay is selling tickets right through the new year, so maybe the wrinkles have been taken care of. Touring shows like Rent, and Cats are heading Vegas way and next year 2 new musicals will be debuting (Notre Dame and Miss Spectacular). With Tommy Tune in EFX and other shows being talked about the city of glitz and glitter is fast becoming Broadway West.
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