Chicago is the longest running American musical in Broadway history and is the 3rd longest running show in Broadway history. The revival, still currently playing on Broadway, holds the record for the longest running musical revival. Chicago begins with a statuesque dancer's declaration that the evening promises "murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery – all those things we hold dear to our hearts." The creators, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse never back off from that sinister yet entertaining promise.
Set in prohibition-era Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the "celebrity criminal."
This is a kiss-and-tell tale of Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who kills her lover as a career move; Billy Flynn, a suave, manipulative, sharp attorney who turns Roxie into a celebrity; Velma Kelly, a dancing jailbird with an ear for headlines and an eye for talent; Matron "Mama" Morton, a tough, sassy warden of the Cook County Jail; Amos Hart, an auto mechanic and hapless husband of Roxie; and Mary Sunshine, a sappy tabloid columnist.
Prior to the musical, there was a Chicago play directed by George Abbott, a 1926 silent film, and 1942 renamed film Roxie Hart which starred Ginger Rogers. The original Broadway production opened in 1975 and was a vehicle for the talents of Gwen Verdon as Roxie and Chita Rivera as Velma with Jerry Orbach as Billy Flynn. The musical has always been closely identified with the unique and distinct choreography of its creator, Bob Fosse. In 1997, a revised version with a trimmed script, minimalist sets onstage band and choreography "in the style of Bob Fosse" premiered on Broadway. Fosse dancer/singer/actress Ann Reinking starred as Roxie, Bebe Neuwirth as Velma Kelly, Joel Grey as Amos Hart and James Naughton as Billy Flynn. The revival won 6 Tony awards and 6 Drama Desk Awards and continues to play on Broadway today. The 2002 film adaptation, directed by Rob Marshall, won 6 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) & starred Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, and Queen Latifah.
The Charleston Light Opera Guild first produced Chicago in 1981 in the style of the original Broadway production. A 2002 Guild revival intimated the trimmed Broadway revival and our summer 2013 productions will be created in that same style.
We gratefully acknowledge Mrs. Alex Schoenbaum for her continued support of the Guild's summer theatre program.
Nina Denton Pasinetti is the director/choreographer; Bobby Hodges, Jr. is musical director and Mark Parsons is accompanist
Call (304) 545-6945 for more information.
© 2013 The Charleston Light Opera Guild