7 Things We Love About Chicago: The Musical
By now, you’ve probably heard all that jazz. Those who were lucky to have seen the first gala of Chicago: The Musical gave rave reviews and couldn’t get the songs out of their head. Of course it was good. After all, Chicago is a six-time Tony Award-winning musical, and whose film adaptation won six Oscars in 2003, including Best Picture. It also holds the record for being the longest-running revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history, with 7,300 performances in a span of nearly 15 years. As an added treat, the Manila run of Chicago: The Musical, brought to you by Smart Infinity, is from the Broadway production, meaning the performance was truly world-class. And in a setting as luxurious as Solaire Resort and Casino’s newly-opened theater, Chicago: The Musical razzled and dazzled Manila’s crowd.
Set in the 1920’s Jazz Age in Chicago, the story focuses on aspiring vaudevillian Roxie Hart and seasoned vaudevillian Velma Kelly, who are both in jail for murdering their lovers. As they struggle to get acquitted, they also form a rivalry to see who is the bigger star. What follows is a spectacular display of song, dance, and barbed humor.
We got to watch the play, and here are the 7 things we love about Chicago: The Musical:
Bianca Marroquin and Terra MacLeod as Roxie and Velma
7. The costumes
The first thing you notice about Chicago: The Musical is the costumes. They are… tight. But they are also beautiful in its simplicity. Because it is set like a cabaret, the wardrobe is sexy and provocative. They don’t change much, and everything is in black, but boy, are they a sight to look at.
6. The characters are compelling
The leads are Roxie Hart (Bianca Marroquin) and Velma Kelly (Terra MacLeod), two vaudevillians in jail for murdering their lovers. Roxie as the aspiring dancer is a pleasure to watch, as she slowly grows in confidence and arrogance. Equally amazing is Velma, who becomes insecure with the young dancer. Their lawyer, Billy Flynn (John O’Hurley), is a corrupt and greedy man who’ll do whatever it takes to get the court in his client’s favor, including manipulating the press and tweaking stories. Roxie’s husband, Amos Hart (Jacob Keith Watson), is a darling. He is an adorable but bumbling man, and his story will make you sympathetic. In his “Mr. Cellophane” number, he sings, “Mr. Cellophane, should have been my name. You can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I’m there.” The sassy Mama Morton is also fun to watch.
Marroquin and MacLeod gave amazing performances in Chicago: The Musical
5. The acting
Marroquin and MacLeod shine as Roxie and Velma. The two embody the roles so well that you’d be surprised that they weren’t like that in real life. Marroquin as the young and funny Roxie delivers her lines and jokes so well that she drew a lot of laughs during the show. Velma isn’t as humorous, but MacLeod can still compete with Marroquin with her brash personality and Chicago accent. Even her body movements stay true to character, and you wonder if she really is from Chicago (she’s Canadian). Another standout was Watson. His portrayal as the ever-faithful but simple husband is heartbreaking, and “Mr. Cellophane” drew a lot of “Awwwww”s from the crowd.
4. The singing and the dancing
Because the cast is composed of seasoned singers and dancers, they gave a mindblowing performance. The songs were so catchy (our favorites were “All That Jazz,” “Mr. Cellophane,” and “Roxy”) and infectious that we found ourselves singing it even after the show. The dancing was on point. Everyone, even the ensemble, gave gravity-defying performances that would put anyone doing yoga to shame. They put out all the stops in choreography, and you are left breathless as they cartwheel, split, flip over chairs, and get carried by the male dancers… while singing. If Marroquin’s Roxie brought the humor, MacLeod’s Velma brought the house down with her impeccable movements.
Although the set was simple, there was still a touch of extravagance during the production
3. It’s a cabaret
For some reason, cabarets never made it big in the Philippines. It’s weird, considering we’re a country that loves performances. Maybe it’s because we’re used to the over-the-top productions our Sunday variety programs show. Cabaret is more restrained and uses only a few props. Chicago: The Musical is exactly that. Costume changes were minimal, the only props were chairs, two ladders, some feather fans, a few notebooks, and even fewer cameras. But the production made it work, using clever lighting and later on, a foil curtain that looks like an LED screen when shown in different lights. Even if the staging is straightforward, the show still had that element of extravagance and excess. And because of its simple stage, you get to focus on the brilliant voices of the cast.
2. The humor
Chicago: The Musical is surprisingly funny. Those ad lib moments, interactions with the orchestra (Billy Flynn telling the conductor, “If your role was so important, they’d give you a chair”), and Roxie’s punch lines were hilarious. There wasn’t a dull moment during the entire show. You were either laughing, being amazed, or going “awww.”
1. The story
The thing we loved the most about Chicago: The Musical is its story. It touches on themes many of us can relate to, even if we can’t do a cartwheel. A young girl idolizing a star, a star getting insecure because of another rising star, and the desire, need, and wish to be loved. We don’t advise you to murder anyone for attention, though. All in all, the production was a seamless combination of a good story, a tireless ensemble, strong acting, brilliant voices, and yes, all that jazz.
Chicago: The Musical (Presented by Smart Infinity)
Address | Solaire Resort and Casino Theater
Dates | December 2-21, 2014
Website | ticketworld.com.ph
Telephone | 8919999 (Ticketworld)
7 Things We Love About Chicago: The Musical