All That Jazz

November 18, 2018

 

Chicago is the longest running American musical in Broadway history—and for good reason. Full of great music, a clever story and Bob Fosse’s incredible choreography, Chicago is a great show that is always a treat. 

 

It is rare, however, to get the opportunity to see such an amazing cast perform this Broadway classic right here in San José. Both leading ladies performed their roles on Broadway in addition to the touring production. In fact, every lead boasts an impressive résuméthat is evident in their spectacular performances. 

 

Chicago tells the story of housewife-turned-murderess Roxie Hart as she navigates the topsy-turvy world of the criminal justice system in 1920s Chicago. Along the way she meets fellow-murderess Velma Kelly, oily lawyer Billy Flynn and manages to become a media sensation.

 

This production is made unique because of its unusual staging. In this rendition, the 13-piece band is in the middle of the stage as an integral part of the staging. Similarly, bistro chairs are set along the sides of the stage so that the supporting cast is onstage even when not a part of the story action taking place on center-stage. This type of staging is more popular in smaller venues and often doesn’t transition well to traditional large theaters. In this case, however, because of the stylized nature of the show, it feels natural and delightfully raw. 

 

Dylis Croman, in the leading role of Roxie Hart, is amazing. She beautifully captures the duality of Roxie. As a character, she is drawn to the spotlight and wants to be seen as sweet and worthy of praise. What many actresses downplay, however, is her roughness. Roxie doesn’t come from a high-class background and she’s perfectly willing to play dirty when she needs to. Croman perfectly balances both sides of Roxie while also nailing the powerful songs and complex choreography. 

 

Peter Lockyer as Lawyer Billy Flynn and Jennifer Fouchéas Matron “Mama” Morton also stand for their amazing vocal performances. These two roles can often be overshadowed by other elements of the play, but these actors make the roles the leading parts they were written to be. Lockyer, styled to look like Clark Gable, feels as if he just stepped out of a golden-age movie, ready to sing his way into your heart and empty your wallet while he’s there. Fouché has such a wonderful and memorable voice that it’s a treat to hear her every time she steps on stage. Terra C. MacLeod is also wonderful as hard-edged Velma Kelly. She is a particularly good dancer, absolutely nailing the complex choreography throughout the show. 

 

Chicago is always a wonderful show, but rarely will you have the opportunity to see it performed by such a talented cast. This cast has pinpoint accuracy on its choreography and fantastic vocals in all of the clever, fun songs. This is not a show you will want to miss. 

 

 

Chicago is playing November 15-18, 2018 at the San JoséCenter for the Performing Arts (255 S. Almaden Boulevard). Single tickets start at $43. The show runs about two and a half hours with one intermission.

Photos courtesy of  Jeremy Daniel, Paul Kolnik and Broadway San Jose

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