A true New York City institution, CHICAGO has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show-stopping song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you've ever seen.
No wonder CHICAGO has been honored with 6 Tony Awards, 2 Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations.
It's also no surprise that CHICAGO has wowed audiences all around the world, from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa.
Whether you're looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you've seen the Academy Award-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage or whether you've seen it before and want to recapture the magic, CHICAGO always delivers.
True crime stories are all the rage these days, and this tale of accused murderesses in Prohibition-era Chicago is based on (unrelated) 1920s court cases involving Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner. In the satirical musical dramedy about how “celebrities” manipulate the law, Beulah and Belva become Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, respectively, two performers just trying to keep the media’s eyes on their talent and good looks instead of their allegedly murderous acts. When showgirl Roxie lands in the clinker for the death of her lover, she discovers a kindred spirit in vaudevillian Velma, who is accused of killing her sister and her husband when she caught them in bed. However, as Roxy starts mimicking Velma’s acts of distraction and hires the same lawyer, Billy Flynn (who has ulterior motives of his own), the two women become invested in beating each other — and the system.
Bob Fosse’s iconic musical, with music and lyrics by the inimitable John Kander and Fred Ebb, has earned the position as longest-running musical revival on Broadway. The original production, which starred Chita Rivera as Velma and Fosse’s wife Gwen Verdon as Roxie, only played for two years from 1975-77. The revival recently celebrated 20 years at the Ambassador Theatre, and this stylistic trip down murderer’s row will leave you tap dancing in your seat. But make eye contact with the ensemble at your own risk, as Fosse famously told the cast in 1975: “Dare the audience to look at you, and then look back at them with murder in your eyes.”
What To Watch For
- The film based on the musical won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Picture and starred Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart, Catherine Zeta Jones as Velma Kelly, and Richard Gere as Billy Flynn.
- The play the musical is based on was originally called Brave Little Woman. Reporter-cum-playwright Maurice Dallas Watkins wrote it while at Yale Drama School about her experience as a crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (The play is now called “Play Ball” to avoid being mistaken for the musical.)
- The revival began as a concert presentation at New York City Center’s Encores! in May 1996 and then transferred to Broadway in November that same year, maintaining much of the sparseness of the concert’s staging.
- Ann Reinking, who replaced Gwen Verdon in the original Chicago and played Roxie Hart in the revival, choreographed the production “in the style of Fosse.” The choreography of the “Hot Honey Rag” remains in tact from the original.
- Celebrities like Usher, Brandy, Taye Diggs, Michael C. Hall, Wayne Brady, Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields, Ashlee Simpson, Jerry Springer, Patrick Swayze, Sofia Vergara, Rita Wilson, Jamie Camil, Nene Leakes, Rumer Willis, and more have been part of the Broadway cast.
2hr 30min (incl. intermission)
CHICAGO recommends attendees be 13 years or older.
219 West 49th Street, New York, NY 10019
The Shuberts built the Ambassador Theatre in 1921, one of four theatres they constructed on 48th and 49th Streets as part of their post-World War I rapid expansion. None of the other three (the Ritz, now the Walter Kerr; the Forrest, now the Eugene O’Neill; and the 49th St, now demolished) are currently operated by the Shubert Organization.