Theater Review: Chicago

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"Chicago the Musical" sizzles with pizzazz on TPAC's Jackson Hall stage, Oct. 21 - 26.

A perfect parents’ night out date, Chicago sizzles with pizzazz … and all that jazz!

Chicago the Musical (Oct. 21 – 26; Ages 13 and older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Remaining show times: Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35 – $75

The second installment of TPAC’s 2014-15 Broadway series sizzles with pizzazz this week with the crowd-pleasing favorite, Chicago the Musical. With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book by Ebb and the amazing Bob Fosse (he’s also the musical’s choreographer), Chicago first hit Broadway in 1975 and has been a powerhouse of musical theater ever since.

Set in Chicago, Ill. during the 1920s prohibition era, the story draws from actual events of the women of “Murderess Row” in the Cook County Jail and how they clawed their way to fame and high society, getting off the hook for their alleged crimes. The satirical aspect of the musical brilliantly digs into societal corruption, the notion of celebrity criminals and the powerful art of manipulation.

Chicago is full of memorable musical numbers that the impeccable cast delivers in top-notch style both in singing and dancing Fosse’s trademark choreography. Favorites include “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “We Both Reached for the Gun,” “I Can’t do it Alone,” “Razzle Dazzle” and “Hot Honey Rag.”

The show’s two leading ladies both hail from Broadway: Bianca Marroquin (Roxie Hart) and Terra C. MacLeod (Velma Kelly). Both talented actresses bring much to the stage and work well off each other. While they are decent singers, it’s their dance skills that stand out. Several dance routines in the show are titillating by nature, and both Marroquin and MacLeod excel at exuding the seductive aspects of their characters. The entire ensemble of backup dancers — male and female — add much to the mix as well.

Most audience members will recognize another star of the show, John O’Hurley (Billy Flynn), from his TV credits as J. Peterman on Seinfeld as well as Dancing With the Stars and his former stint as host of Family Feud. O’Hurley shines in his role as the dapper, slick and inherently weasel-like attorney who has a knack for turning a courtroom into a virtual three-ring circus via a lot of smoke and mirrors that “Razzle Dazzle” public opinion and that of the jury.

Jacob Keith Watson gives a noteworthy performance as the sheepish Amos Hart. His rendition of “Mr. Cellophane” is one of the best in a Chicago production. Likewise, Roz Ryan as Matron “Mama” Morton sings with power and command (“When You’re Good to Mama”), and Grammy-nominated C. Newcomer is impressive in his role as reporter Mary Sunshine, hitting several high notes in “A Little Bit of Good.”

Seven local musicians join the touring band, providing a wonderful jazz-infused musical backdrop on the stage.

Through and through, this production of Chicago is a class-act musical, and it makes for a perfect parents’ night out date.

 

 

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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