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'Chicago' brings murder and mayhem to IU Auditorium



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Members of the cast of “Chicago” perform the opening song “All that Jazz” on Oct. 10 in IU Auditorium.  Matt Begala Buy Photos

“Chicago,” the longest running American musical in Broadway history, opened for its two-night engagement at 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening at the IU Auditorium.  

Set against the crime, decadence and corruption of Chicago in the 1920s, the musical opens with “All That Jazz.” After the number, nightclub chorus member Roxie Hart murders her lover, Fred Casley, and attempts to convince her hapless, dim-witted husband, Amos, to take the blame. The scheme backfires and she's thrown in jail, where she meets fellow inmate and big-time vaudeville star Velma Kelly. 

After the show, select cast members participated in a Q&A. A small audience gathered to ask the cast questions how they stayed fit for the show, what their dream parts were and more. Halfway through the session, two dogs named Bell and Chloe, whom one cast member said were the company’s “mascots,” joined.

While much of the audience was older, quite a few younger people were present as well. 

Skylar Thomas, a freshman majoring in dance and psychology, said Chicago is a chance to observe professional level dance technique in action, making it timeless.  

 “It’s such an inspiration to see professional dancers onstage doing a collaboration with theater and making a musical," Maddie Allen a freshman dance major said.

However, not all students in the audience came from an arts background.  

Kate Mochica, a freshman majoring in intelligent systems engineering, said she was excited to see “Chicago” because it’s one of her favorite shows. 

“I’ve seen the movie version, and it’s really different,” said Mochica. “I think it’s really fun to see it live.”

The musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 satirical play about the real life crime scene in Chicago. It spawned film adaptations, including a 1942 film starring Ginger Rogers. Choreographer Bob Fosse became interested in adapting the play and in 1975, he premiered “Chicago,” which he directed and choreographed.

“Chicago" was revived on Broadway in 1996, and the national touring production launched the next year. The Broadway revival version won six Tony Awards, including Best Revival, and a Grammy. The show’s renewed popularity both domestically and overseas, with tours forming worldwide, inspired a 2002 film adaptation. 

The Revival is choreographed by Ann Reinking, who played Roxie Hart in the original and in the 1997 Broadway revival, in the style of Bob Fosse. However, the finale, “Hot Honey Rag,” contains Fosse’s original choreography. 

"Chicago" will be performed again at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 at the IU Auditorium. 

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