By Daniel Skora
“Chicago” is Broadway’s longest running American musical. The 1996 revival is nearing 8,000 performances and still counting. The current National Tour is making a one-week stop at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, and the show is as good or even better than any “Chicago” that’s ever come through town.
“Chicago” has all the elements that make for a crowd-pleasing show. It has a provocative story (chorus girl murders her lover, goes on trial, and proceeds to make a career out of her notoriety), songs with infectious toe-tapping melodies (“All That Jazz”, “Razzle Dazzle, etc.”), and some of the most energetic choreography to have ever hit a Broadway stage. The production at the Fisher shows why the musical won six Tony Awards in 1997, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Performances (both Male and Female) in a Musical.
It features Dylis Croman as Roxie Hart, Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly, and Detroiter Roz Ryan as Mama Thorton. Paul Vogt plays Roxie’s husband Amos Hart and D. Ratell is the reporter Mary Sunshine. The role of Billy Flynn is traditionally played by a celebrity with name recognition and in the current show, that role is filled by John O’Hurley. O’Hurley is best known for playing the eccentric J. Peterman on “Seinfeld”. His acting here is flawless (there’s a lot of “Peterman” in his voice and characterization) and he sings extremely well.
The choreography (by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse) is high-voltage and seductive, the costumes (by William Ivey Long) are basic black and equally seductive. “Chicago” is a marvelously entertaining show and the current production shows why it’s become an American classic.
Credits for “Chicago” are: book is by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music is by John Kander, and lyrics are by Fred Ebb. The show runs through February 14th. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800.982.2787, online at www.BroadwayinDetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com and the Fisher Theatre box office.