Warning! There are some spoilers below. Do not proceed further if you haven't seen the musical. Having seen the movie is not quite the same.
submitted by Alex M. Donnelly
Location: Merriam Theater, Philadelphia, PA
Having seen the show a year earlier on Broadway and been dazzled, my review for the tour is nothing but great! I had the pleasure of seeing it in Philadelphia, PA at the Merriam Theater Dec. 27, 2006.
Let's start. Bianca Marroquin was sensational! She added cuteness back to Roxie's character, and was nothing but charming! She is even a sweetheart in person. I manged to get a couple autographs from her and a hug! Terra C. MacLeod was absolutely amazing! She put the sarcastic charm back in Velma that most actresses fail to do, I suppose its from playing the role so many times not only in English but in French as well! Her acting sort of reminded me of Ute Lemper, I guess it's the way she sang and acted in sarcasm! Her dancing skills are incredble, let me tell you, "When Velma Takes The Stand" left me breathless, that and "I Can't Do It Alone"! Her singing was flawless as well! BUT her acting was marvelous, and when you put her with Marroquin, the just melt together in perfect harmony! They are perfect together; they would be the only Roxie and Velma you would ever want to see! MacLeod like Marroquin was also a sweetheart in person. She was gracious enough to sign not only the Playbill, but the 2 pages I clipped out of an old Playbill I had with her from Broadway starring opposite Charlotte d'Amboise, and also at the end of the show, when Roxie and Velma throw roses out of the boquet, she saw my "Not Guilty" T-Shirt I was wearing and threw me a rose! (I was that close, my seat was 3 rows back from the stage, so close you could see the spit coming out of the actors as they talked!)
Tom Wopat was in fine tune but was a little snooty in person. His singing and acting were great though! During the intermission he signed autographs; I got two playbills, a program, and one of his CDs autographed! Fine, fine actor! Which brings me to MELBA MOORE! She was absolutely FANTASTIC!!! Two thumbs high up! This woman can belt thos notes out! Her acting was great as well; she might have to go over them a little more though, she was getting a little tongue-tied! She tried rushing out of the theatre after the show, but I caught her, and she signed a picture I had of her. In return I gave her an extra rose that I had caught in the show!
Ron Orbach was very good as well, a very convincing Amos! When getting autographs, he signed my Playbill From Jerry's (Orbach, his late cousin) Cousin Ron Orbach! Bit of a funny guy too in person! Which brings me to lastly Roy aka R. Bean The best damn Mary Sunshine there is! He was outstanding! Truely made the character come alive! After the show I met up with him, I got him to autograph the Playbill and a program which had a picture of him. When he saw the picture he said "I can't belive how young I look". I then asked him if he liked playing Mary, and we got into a long conversation about the role, he said "Now I know how every woman in heels feel; I am always in pain with these devils on! I sometimes wish I could play a boy's role, but I've been playing this one for 9 years!".
So overall a very great cast; the company was amazing too! The whole show was just perfect and my seats were amazing too! If you're going to see the show in Philadelphia @ the Merriam, I might suggest eating at Teds, the resteraunt was right down the street from the theatre, and the food was excellent!
submitted by Pam
Location: Von Braun Center, Hunstville, AL
Tuesday night around 8:00 while on the phone to my husband who is working in Huntsville, he tells me he just saw a commercial for Chicago this weekend. I immediately went to Ticketmaster to find seats. All they had was loge and balcony left. We took loge. Now this was not an easy thing to accept, as we have always had first or second row. Not to mention the biggest attraction to going was to see Michelle DeJean in the lead role. But, being the fans we are, we took our binoculars and made the two hour trek to Huntsville. We tried to be optimistic about the seats, thinking now we will see a different vantage point. Right.
The set is the same as on Broadway which was very exciting. We settled in and were in awe of the performances of such a wonderful cast. There were a few substitutions but the one we came to see was there and as I understand it, Michelle has not missed a show yet. Not knowing her singing abilities we were hopeful she would be able to pull it off. That is an understatement. She put a shine on the role that was amazing. Flawless! Michelle is an actress, dancer, and SINGER! She does it all with such perfection. Her energy is contagious, you cannot help but smile. Especially from the front row (we were moved for the second half to front of the pit…fabulous!). Not to mention she is gorgeous. I cannot imagine anyone else in the role now. I thought Belle and Charlotte were awesome before but Michelle even surpassed them. Terra was Velma and we were thrilled to see her again in that role as well. I was not disappointed in any of the performers. The opening overture seemed to be cut a bit short but that was minor. We were seated perfectly to see the jury scene. Christophe Caballero was excellent in the multiple roles. It looked like he almost broke Gregory Harrison once. Gregory Harrison has a great stage presence. At times he resembled Warren Beatty. He sang very well, though I did expect him to go for the high notes like Kevin Richardson and Wayne Brady did, but it was not in his range. No complaints. He did an awesome job. Kevin Carolan was a great Amos, I think I liked him better than PJ Benjamin actually, but no one can top Rob Bartlett. Ivy Fox stood in as Mama and no one would ever know that is not her given role. Sure we expect someone a bit more matronly and well, larger, but she made us forget our stereotypes. Great performance.
This is the kind of musical you can see again and again. In fact upon leaving the theatre, my husband said he would come back in five hours for the evening show if we could snag front row again. The show is so entertaining that it is hard to get enough of it.
I hope to be able to catch up to it in another city in the near future.
submitted by Miranda
Location: Rochester Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, NY
I saw the Rochester, NY leg of the tour yesterday.
Roxie: Paige Davis (she was only on for the Rochester part of the tour)
Velma: Terra MacLeod
Billy: Kevin Neil McCready
Mama: Carol Woods
Amos: Kevin Carolan
First of all, the production was absolutely amazing. This was my first time seeing Chicago onstage (I had only seen the movie before). I loved the minimalist-like set that it had. The whole cast had an amazingly huge amount of energy during every number of the show. The choreography was also amazing. There wasn't really a really "weak" part of the show.
Paige was great, and better than I thought she would be. I had been so used to seeing her on "Trading Spaces" and seeing her in Chicago was great. She put a whole bunch of energy into her performance, especially during "Roxie" and the monolouge before that. Terra McLeod was also excellent. The person who reviewed the show in my newspaper didn't really like her, but I thought that she had one of the strongest voices in the show, by far, which made her overpower Paige during some songs "My Own Best Friend", "Nowadays", etc. She was really good. I don't think that Kevin Neil McCready had the strongest voice in the world. He was good at the acting part, but his voice was one of the weaker among the leads. Carol Woods was so good as Mama. "When You're Good to Mama" was excellent. She has a very powerful voice. Kevin Carolan had a very good "Mister Cellophane" as well as Amos.
Overall, excellent show, especially "Cell Block Tango" (my favorite song in the show), "When You're Good to Mama" and "Roxie". I would see it again in a heartbeat, but I don't have the money.
submitted by Holly
Location: Ohio Theatre in Columbus, OH
The main reason I went to see CHICAGO was to see my favorite singer, Coleen Sexton. I was so excited to see the show, because I had seen the movie too many times and heard all too much about the live version. The show was so wonderful, and I enjoyed it so much!! Everyone in the cast is so strong in their parts, especially Bianca and Ray! I just loved their interpretations of their characters. Amos, my least favorite character in the show became on of my favorites, and Roxie just captured your heart from the start.
Favorite songs were "Cell Block Tango", "My Baby and Me", and "All that Jazz". The ensemble was just amazing. All very strong dancers and great with the CBT monologues. I loved the choreography, very catchy and reflected the mood of the show wonderfully.
I got to meet most of the cast after the show, and they were all extremely sweet! Very personable and actually took the time to talk to us. I would recommend this show to anyone! I had a great time!
submitted by Kev
6/6/03 Evening performance
Location: National Theatre in Washington D.C.
When the cast was announced for the newest national tour of CHICAGO, I knew I could not pass up the chance to see the newly-assembled company, which consisted mostly of veterans. I caught the show on the official opening night, in which the press, the producer, and director attended. While there are a few kinks to be worked out, the energy and talent of the company was unmistakable!
Bianca Marroquin headed the cast as Roxie, and while she seemed to endear herself to the audience, my impression was not as warm. I highly enjoyed Marroquin's extra-sharp dancing, shown to great effect in "Roxie" and "Me and My Baby," but her over-the-top acting bordered on cheesy and desperate, and her weak singing voice did nothing for me as well. I was much more impressed by her co-star Brenda Braxton, as Velma Kelly. Ms. Braxton excelled in all departments, providing an amusing and sassy portrayal with a powerhouse voice and stylistic dancing. She especially rocked the house with "All That Jazz" and "When Velma Takes the Stand." Together, these two actresses worked well off each other and ended the show with a mostly clean "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag."
Gregory Harrison played Billy Flynn and he filled the bill, if not exquisitely. He had good looks and a pleasant voice but lacked any sort of charisma or comedy that I have seen in more solid Billys. Ray Bokhour was a fine Amos, if not especially endearing or sympathetic; Roz Ryan has never been more entertaining as Mama; and R. Bean was the best I have ever seen in the role of Mary Sunshine.
The ensemble was a definite incentive to see this tour, and there were many standouts. Lloyd Culbreath, Bernard Dotson, and Dante A. Sciarra brought solid character to their small roles and Mamie Duncan-Gibbs, Marianne McCord, and Caitlin Carter made the biggest impressions as merry murderesses.
Kudos to choreography reproducer Gary Chryst for adding some extra nifty body contortions and stunts for the big production numbers.
Quibbles of the evening included some traffic problems amongst the ensemble, a weak horn section in the orchestra, and some unbalanced mic/music problems. However, I have no doubt that the tour tightened even more in time as it continues to sizzle its way across the U.S.
submitted by Louis
7/5/03 Matinee performance
Location: Belk Theater in Charlotte, NC
Seat: C 219, Grand Tier
There were no cast changes at the performance I saw. My seat was fantastic (hence the top price, I assume -- luckily, mine were purchased for me), although I wish I had sat in front orchestra with hopes of getting a rose or having some sort of interaction with cast members (especially Roz).
After Bianca Marroquin appeared at the Shubert last summer, I heard some bootlegs of "Funny Honey" and "Roxie." They impressed me enough to hope that she would return to NYC at a time I did, but little did I know she would come on tour. I found her performance to be very animated and energetic, some highlights being the mentioned numbers as well as MAMB. She and Brenda Braxton were a really great duo, and they interacted especially well during "I Can't Do It Alone".
Brenda's voice is really good, and well-suited to the role of Velma. I remember the relatively negative reviews she got when she began her NYC run, and I don't really agree with some of them. Her best moments include ICDIA, "When Velma Takes The Stand", the "Cell Block Tango" monologue, and the beginning of "Me And My Baby" (I loved her reaction to having the ladder and herself slid off stage). Her dancing was very crisp, and her acting was also nice.
"Nowadays" was awesome, and "Hot Honey Rag" followed suit. As earlier stated I wish I had sat in the front to possibly get a rose from Bianca or Brenda. Such is life. I didn't get to the stage door either, about which I am slightly remorseful.
Roz Ryan is now my favorite Mama, without a doubt. I had seen her before and loved her, but my endearment for her performance is now doubled, if not tripled. "When Your Good To Mama" was amazing as always, and she and Brenda made "Class" into one of the best renditions I have ever heard. She also made sure the audience appreciated the very awesome orchestra, a gesture I very much liked. She and Roy Bean were both wonderful here. He has always been my favorite Mary, and I'm always thrilled to hear such a nice, solid male coloratura.
This was my second time seeing Ray Bokhour, and I'm really pleased with his Amos. His "Mister Cellophane" was excellent. Gregory Harrison had a good "All I Care About", and gave a nice performance. He and Bianca collaborated very well on "We Both Reached For The Gun". "Razzle Dazzle" was fun, and I briefly forgot about the mirrorballs that aren't very obvious from the first few rows down in orchestra (hence my brief surprise upon seeing them).
Dante A. Sciarra as the Jury wasn't bad at all. He did some nice things and had good comic timing. Nicole Bridgewater had a really good Liz. Mamie Duncan-Gibbs was, as always, a solid Annie -- this time with a really interesting, different delivery that I enjoyed; Jenn, who I liked in the NET, delivered a Mona of the airhead variety with a twist. Marianne McCord was fun throughout even though her June monologue didn't strike a very good chord with me. Caitlin Carter was, as always, dazzling, and the rope trick was quite chilling. Christine Brooks had a nice Kitty, though KMM must have been fun too (she went on that evening).
The audience was very responsive. As always, Roz fed off of/encouraged the audience, and so did Roy several times. Gregory did a few nice things to get some audience interaction, which pleased me.
Everyone in my party enjoyed the principals, and the entire show. We found little weakness, but what weakness was found was noticed by all. I have no major complaints about anything I saw -- I'm impressed the show is still so fresh.
What an excellent cast, fun show and well-deserved standing ovation.