With an uncanny depiction of media sensationalism, the longest running musical in Broadway history, “Chicago,” will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11 at the IU Auditorium.
Set against the crime, decadence and corruption of Chicago in the 1920s, the musical follows nightclub dancer Roxie Hart who murders her side-lover and tries to put the blame on her husband, Amos. The scheme backfires and she ends up in jail, where she meets fellow inmate and big-time vaudeville star Velma Kelly.
Desperate to avoid a nasty conviction, Hart hires a sleazy lawyer to appeal her case to the court of public opinion. Scheming against the public and Kelly, she becomes the kind of “famous for being famous” character that would make even Kim Kardashian turn her head.
Weaving her tangled web, Roxie must eventually face these questions: can her fame, notoriety and marriage last? Will it be enough for her to escape justice?
Known for iconic songs like “Razzle Dazzle,” “Mr. Cellophane” and “All That Jazz,” the musical is a favorite among actors and musical theater fans.
“I don’t have to do this show," Paul Vogt, who plays Amos Hart, said. "I get to do this show."
Bogt said he maintains that outlook after five years of performing “Chicago,” including four national tours and two turns on Broadway.
He said for the new ensemble members joining the company, performing in “Chicago” is a dream come true.
Dylis Croman said playing Roxie Hart has been a wish turned reality for her, as she has known Ann Reinking, who played Hart in both the original and 1997 revival, as a teacher and mentor since she was 14.
As a teenager watching Reinking perform the role, Croman said she dreamed of someday following in her idol’s footsteps.
It was Reinking who mentored young Croman in the Bob Fosse-style of movement and imparted her wisdom to Croman, saying if a person makes a mistake, make it a big one.
“Chicago” is based on a 1926 play by reporter, Maurine Dallas Watkins, about the real-life trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, who were both accused of murdering their lovers.
The satirical play spawned film adaptions, including a 1942 version starring Ginger Rogers as Roxie Hart, when Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb adapted it into a musical. The original 1975 production was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse.
This national touring production launched a year after the virtual identical 1996 Broadway revival version, which 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 Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, however, the finale contains Fosse’s original choreography, according to Croman.
”Chicago” embodies what everyone loves about musical theater, Doug Booher, the executive director of the IU Auditorium, said in an IU Auditorium press release.
“From the captivating story to the glittering costumes to the iconic songs, it’s not a surprise that 'Chicago' has lasted this long. It’s Broadway magic,” Booher said.