Extra! Extra! Read all about it. The musical… that is Chicago celebrates 20 wonderful years as America’s longest-running musical revival & the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. This dynamic production recently made its way to the Opera House at Kennedy Center in our Nation’s Capital and we could not wait to witness a musical that deals with fun, murder and mayhem. With Grammy award winning superstar Brandy Norwood as the incredible Roxie, she has to deliver some moxie to the DC audience. Here’s my review of Chicago and all that jazz!
Chicago returns to our Nation’s Capital with Norwood’s whimsical charm at the helm for a limited engagement, April 4 – 16) at the Kennedy Center Opera House for the very first time.
In case you forget what Chicago is all about, here’s the scoop! Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer, Billy Flynn, to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.
Brandy Norwood returns the role that jumpstart her debut on Broadway as Roxie Hart is the heart of Chicago. Norwood brings an eloquent, emotionally vulnerable performance that captures our attention every time she takes the stage. Watching her act as the puppet to Barrett’s antics during “We Both Reached for the Gun” scene is not only hilarious but challenging. Her voice is superb that she keeps the audience connected with Roxie from the first song of “Funny Honey” to the swan song of the “Finale”. Norwood is extraordinary as Roxie and we’re so glad that she came back to the role.
Brent Barrett is outstanding as Billy Flynn, the high-priced attorney, recommended by “Mama” Morton, who takes Roxie’s act of murder into “razzle dazzle” circus for the courtroom and the ever-engaging press when he present Roxie’s story in a ventriloquist act. The courtroom in the second act was Barrett’s shining moment as he delivers Roxie’s tale in a play by play commentary that you have keep your eyes on the action to fully enjoy Barrett’s performance.
Paul Vogt, who plays Amos Hart, tugs at our heartstrings like a violin with his pitiful, melancholic personality that suits the character to a T. Vogt is such a joy to watch especially during the second act when conductor Rob Bowman refuses to give him his exit music, the audience erupts and applauds as he leaves the stage You cannot help but to feel sorry for Amos for the all he went through. Vogt gets major kudos from with his performance on “Mister Cellophane” especially when it came down to belting out that note from his meek voice.
Rounding out the multi-talented cast is Roz Ryan as Matron “Mama” Morton who sizzled in her signature solo, “When You’re Good to Mama”. Ryan is making her fourteenth run in the role, more than any other leading lady in the entire run of the revival. Between her solo and the duet with MacLeod as Velma Kelly in the “Class” number, you can see why Roz is the best Mama Morton to grace the stage.
Along with the dynamic performances by the cast, breathtaking dance numbers & the songs you can sing along to, the musical was accompanied by a 14-piece, on-stage orchestra led by Conductor Rob Bowman. One of the best highlights of Chicago is not only did they include Bowman in some of the scenes but the orchestra killed, slayed, knocked us dead with the soundtrack of the roaring 20’s. You truly forget you’re in present-day when you hear the music that sets the tone of each scene in Chicago.
This production of Chicago the Musical didn’t just paint the town, they owned it! The musical gave us the old razzle dazzle in two acts with lots of flash and our reaction to the show is so passionate that we want more.
To see when Chicago is coming to your town: go to http://www.chicagothemusical.com/ustour