Chicago

The touring version of "Chicago" is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway.

With:
Cast: Jasmine Guy (Velma Kelly), Charlotte D'Amboise (Roxie Hart), Rick Pessagno (Fred Casely), Ron Orbach (Amos Hart), Carol Woods (Matron "Mama" Morton), Obba Babatunde (Billy Flynn), M.E. Spencer (Mary Sunshine).

The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway.

As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in the Bob Fosse style is simply riveting in its mixture of athletic moves, slinky ensemble numbers and outrageous poses. This is true Fosse, employing to full advantage the engaging score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and throwing the limelight on every performer.

The show top-bills Charlotte D’Amboise in the role of Roxie Hart, the demanding part created by Fosse for Gwen Verdon, but D’Amboise suffered a knee injury during the production’s Cincinnati debut. Understudy Belle Calaway was called up, and in classic showbiz tradition steps snugly into the role, delivering in all departments — dancing, singing and acting. The spunky veteran never lets up from her first number, “Funny Honey,” and is especially sharp in her sultry dance with the boys, “Roxie.” She won’t be an understudy much longer. (D’Amboise is undergoing rehabilitation and is expected to return in several weeks.)

Broadway and TV veteran Jasmine Guy is equally at home as Velma, the tough cookie who vies for jail-house and media bragging rights and helps infuse the show with its delightfully sinister attitude. Guy sets the tone with the provocative opening number, “All That Jazz,” and she excels in “I Can’t Do It Alone” and “When Velma Takes the Stand.” Her two numbers with Calaway are also a delight, partly because the two have engaging voices that complement each other nicely. Guy’s an extremely athletic dancer whose talents are showcased throughout.

Other principals include Obba Babatunde as the conniving attorney, Ron Orbach as the milquetoast husband, Carol Woods as the warden and M.E. Spencer as the campy soprano reporter. All take full advantage of their moments, especially Orbach’s “Mr. Cellophane,” an inspired piece of whimsy in the sizzling second act. The show is a parade of highlights, actually, none more entertaining than the nifty Ziegfeld fan number that features Babatunde crooning about his love for women and money.

“Chicago” may be set in the 1920s, but its cynical spin on the criminal justice system is always topical, especially in the nation’s capital. It is dark, naughty and humorous at the same time, benefiting from William Ivey Long’s black tuxedo and tights costumes and concert staging that positions the 13-piece orchestra front and center. Leading that polished group is Rob Bowman, a busy Washington-area musician who presents the Kander and Ebb score to full effect.

Chicago

National Theater, Washington, D.C.; 1,632 seats; $67.50 top

Production: A Barry and Fran Weissler presentation, in association with Kardana Prods. and Pace Theatrical Group, of a musical in two acts with book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, lyrics by Ebb, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Directed by Walter Bobbie.

Creative: Choreographed by Ann Reinking (in the style of Bob Fosse). Supervising musical direction, Rob Fisher; musical direction, Rob Bowman; original orchestrations, Ralph Burns; dance music arrangements, Peter Howard; script adaptation, David Thompson; set, John Lee Beatty; costumes, William Ivey Long; lighting, Ken Billington; sound, Scott Lehrer; musical coordinator, John Monaco; associate producer, Alecia Parker; production stage manager, Martin Gold. Opened, reviewed, April 16, 1997. Running time: 2 HOURS, 25 MIN.

Cast: Cast: Jasmine Guy (Velma Kelly), Charlotte D'Amboise (Roxie Hart), Rick Pessagno (Fred Casely), Ron Orbach (Amos Hart), Carol Woods (Matron "Mama" Morton), Obba Babatunde (Billy Flynn), M.E. Spencer (Mary Sunshine).With: Eric Jordan Young, Sharon Moore, Diedre Goodwin, Janine LaManna, Belle Calaway, Mary MacLeod, Angie L. Schworer, Gregory Butler, Marc Calamia, Mark Price, Mark C. Reis, Mark Arvin.

More Legit

  • Until the Flood review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Until the Flood,' a Docu-Drama Set in Ferguson, Mo.

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • Turner, Warner Bros. Launching New Movie

    Turner, Warner Bros. Launching Movie SVOD Service FilmStruck Internationally

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • Hello, Dolly! Bette Midler

    Broadway Box Office: Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen Help Keep Street's Spirits High

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • Keegan-Michael Key

    Stagecraft Podcast: Why Keegan-Michael Key Craves the Green Lights

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • RWS Entertainment Group Marquee Holland America

    RWS Entertainment Launches Theatrical Development Department (EXCLUSIVE)

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • John Lithgow Stories By Heart

    Broadway Review: 'John Lithgow: Stories by Heart'

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Lin-Manuel Miranda to Receive Monte Cristo Award (EXCLUSIVE)

    The touring version of “Chicago” is fighting trim, full of vitality and ready to tear up the road. An excellent cast, marked by a substitution for an injured headliner, delivers full justice to the rigorous dance and vocal demands of the revival that is currently captivating Broadway. As in that production, Ann Reinking’s choreography in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content