NME AFTER PRINT: CHICAGO - Definitely worth the hype


By Teresa Ewers

In a town full of temptations - sex, booze and jazz - a woman needs her 15 minutes of fame. But is it possible when the next sensational story is right around the corner? Popejoy Hall presented the Broadway hit Chicago last night and believe me when I say, this musical is worth the hype.

Chicago, winner of 6 Tony Awards®, 2 Olivier Awards®, a Grammy®, tells the story of corruption, adultery, murder and good ol' fashion American justice. The 1920's welcomed The Jazz Age, where liquor was quicker and women were...friendlier. Two "celebrity criminals" were the main focus of the show, Velma Kelly and Roxy Hart. Velma, played by the amazing Terra C. MacLeod, is the celebrity house resident in Cook County Prison, "falsely accused" for the death of her husband and sister. MacLeod welcomes the audience with the famous number "All That Jazz" and works the room. What a talent and voice MacLeod has. Witty and guff, she was Kelly and embraced the role entirely.

But like life, there's always something better around the corner - in walks the latest criminal sensation, Roxy Hart, played by the perfectly campy Bianca Marroquín. Marroquín was marvelous in this role, to the range of her voice, her graceful moves and comic timing, she was a delight to watch.

The prison was run by the larger than life (and voice) character, Matron "Mama" Morton, played by the talented Roz Ryan. Ryan, what can say? This woman was blessed with a voice - she is Mama! Sharing with the audience how things work at the prison - you know that if you're good for mama, she'll be good to you. Ryan was a delight, caring for her girls, but always understand the bottom line.

Other stand-outs were Jeff MacCarthy who played smooth-talking lawyer Billy Finn and Jacob Keith Watson who played the gullible and invisible Amos Hart. For a man that calls himself Mister Cellophane, Watson was heartfelt and made me remember him. Playing the role of Amos, a man who could never say no to Roxy, no matter what, or who, she did, Watson brought real emotion and depth to his role. His performance of "Cellophane" was deep, painful and made me wish that people could see he was there.

Chicago wouldn't be Chicago without the fast-talking, fast-dealing lawyers. But nobody does it better than Billy Finn. MacCarthy gave the audience that "Razzle Dazzle". He made me feel like I was watching Jerry Orbach on stage. Strong in his character, you truly either loved him or hated him - definitely a guilty pleasure in the show and MacCarthy did him justice.

From the music to the choreography and the acting, Chicago is a feast for the eyes and ears. The dancers were sultry and sinful and would have made Fosse proud. The interaction with the actors and the live orchestra on stage - yes, on stage, brought this musical to life. Oh and Mary Sunshine, played by C. Newcomer, what a pleasant surprise, in voice and, uh, character.

I loved the movie, but the movie didn't do the musical justice. So do yourself a favor, experience the joy of live theater with this show. You'll find yourself leaving the theater with a dance in your step and a song stuck in your head, but I can tell you that you will not be disappointed.

(Running until January 18th, this show will sell out. Learn more at http://popejoypresents.com/2014-2015/chicago)

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