My first experience with “Chicago” was seeing the film. It starred Renee Zellweger, Catherine-Zeta Jones and Richard Gere, and it went on to win 6 Oscars including Best Picture at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003. In 2004 I saw Chicago, the Musical at the Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles where Patrick Swayze played Billy Flynn. This week I had the pleasure of seeing it a third time at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles with Christie Brinkley as Roxie Hart and John O’Hurley (you may remember him as J. Peterman on Seinfeld) playing the former Swayze role of Billy Flynn. The third time was no less the charm. Talk about “reciprocity…” this timeless classic continues to reward and dazzle the audience.
As of this past January, the musical Chicago has played for more than 6,200 performances.
Chicago has it’s roots in Vaudeville (mid 1890s- to early 1930s). According to author Peter Kobel of “Chicago: The Movie and the Lyrics” (W W Norton & Co Inc, March 1, 2003), Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb used it as a metaphor for the killer competition of show biz and the razzle-dazzle of journalism and the courts. I also recommend you read the book on the musical if you want to learn more on the history.
Christie Brinkley was a pleasant surprise and at 58, she is still stunning. I had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Her Roxie Hart rocked the house. I only remember her as a supermodel and in the National Lampoon Vacation series.
John O’Hurley was a scene stealer. Hilarious. What a voice on Carol Woods (Matron “Mama” Morton). Noteworthy was the song: “Class” performed by Woods and Amra-Faye Wright.
Every song stands out. The orchestra phenomenal.
The show runs from May 15-27 at the Pantages. Don’t miss it.
You can like the life you’re living,
You can live the life you like,
You can even marry Harry,
But mess around with Ike…
Chicago is grand decadence. A visual con. Sensual choreography. The story will resonate with you because criminals and justice- and the media celebrities they become will forever be strange dance partners…
I’d see it a fourth time.