Eager to catch the film’s hefty winds, Fran and Barry Weissler have hurriedly hoisted anchor on yet another lengthy tour of “Chicago.” But not too hurriedly. This veteran-laden version is fully equipped with the requisite vitality and attitude, as well as terrific chemistry between the Velma and Roxie characters. Tech contributions also are top-drawer, while Walter Bobbie’s staging follows a finely honed script.
Audiences who newly discovered “Chicago” from the film will again savor the magical marriage of Kander and Ebb’s outstanding score with Bob Fosse’s unique choreographic style (with credit to Ann Reinking). And they’ll see different but equally infectious interpretations of the key roles.
Brenda Braxton as Velma and Bianca Marroquin as Roxie head a delightful Broadway-experienced ensemble that has its roles and steps down pat. Braxton’s athletic Velma is a blur of angular moves, toothy smiles and contempt, while Marroquin’s Roxie offers the right blend of cockiness and vulnerability. Marroquin honed her perf in the Mexico City production prior to Broadway. Both meet their many song and dance challenges, and Marroquin also makes a perfect clowning puppet.
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Gregory Harrison is smooth and oily as the handsome Billy Flynn, while Ray Bokhour is pleasingly bland as the wimpy husband, making the most out of his big number, “Mr. Cellophane.” Roz Ryan returns for another enjoyable run as the sincere but larcenous Mama. She is fully in control of the jailhouse, with a beefy presence just made for intimidation. Even the silly Mary Sunshine (Broadway stalwart R. Bean) is finely polished. There is not a weak singing voice in the cast.
With its witty and self mocking script, gymnastic dancing, leggy company and numerous other attributes, this 30-year-old musical continues to resonate. And now with a whole new audience to entertain, it’s likely to be an indefinite fixture. Perhaps best of all is its timeless theme, which demonstrates that cynicism never goes out of style.