December 4, 2007

“All that Jazz,” her hands still bloody from killing her husband and sister after catching them together. Roxie (Michelle Dejean) who dreams of being a star, sees Velma’s act at the club and later that night kills her lover. Both women find themselves in jail awaiting trial and competing for headlines under the arrogant gaze of their corrupted lawyer Billy Flynn (Bernard Doston). Several song and dance numbers appear in Roxie’s daydreams as she waits for her big moment to perform at her trial.

Michelle DeJean’ character Roxie is a pleasure to watch. Dejean’s finest musical moment comes in Roxie when her delight in her new found celebrity is thrilling, comic and touching all at the same time. By contrast, the desolation which threatens to swamp her when, at the end of the show, it all looks set to slip away is heartbreaking. Here is a performance which goes way beyond the character’s obvious, purely comic potential and gives the show real heart. Like Brenda Braxton, she is not the best dancer to have played the role and their Hot Honey Rag finale loses some of its impact as a result. But, by this point, the audience is so won over by the charm of both performers that it hardly seems to matter.

A show that is geared for anyone that wants to see what a real New York musical is about. Chicago should be seen by anyone who loves musicals, theater or just a great night out. It is funny, charming, stirring and invigorating and a reminder of how, quite simply, no other art form offers so much pure entertainment value as the Broadway musical at its finest. Exploring greed, corruption, adultery, deception, dishonesty and everything else that is considered lucrative in this business, Chicago is the perfect musical about real life adventures. The production also replays repeated viewing with each set of performers bringing their own individual talents to bear on such sensational material and with such varying, and consistently superb, results.

I have now three PLAYBILL programs as proof that I have seen CHICAGO for the third time, and I still love it. For those who have never seen it, you need to see this production. But if you’ve seen it before, it still deserves a second or third viewing. It’s still that good!

By Sae na Park (Korea)


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