More Information

  • CHICAGO

    * * * * 

    What: A Music Circus production of the 1996 revival version of the Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb hit.

    When: Continues 8 p.m , Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Matinees are at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Additional shows 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 28, and 2 and 8 p.m Thursday.

    Where: Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento

    Tickets: $30 to $74

    Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes, including an intermission

    Information: (916) 557-1999; www.tickets.com or www.sacramentomusiccircus.com

Review: Stars shine in ‘Chicago’ at Music Circus

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 9:12 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 - 9:33 am

All that Fosse. And yes it can be said here, “All that Jazz” has finally come to the Music Circus. The deconstructed but still fully entertaining 1996 revival of the Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb musical “Chicago” almost nonchalantly sizzles as its sexy cast struts across the circular stage. From the first entrance of Aaron Felske’s bare-armed announcer there were hoots and wolf whistles from the crowd, and that could have gone on forever as the cast supplied beefcake and cheesecake all night long.

That type of purient sexuality would eventually become part of the production’s furniture (if the bare set actually had any beyond a few chairs) because the seductive boudoir-based costumes never change. The women in black bras, garter belts and stockings don’t ever cover up. The men in black trousers and open black vests never change, either. Still, to focus solely on the Fosse-centric celebration of the flesh would miss the point. The greatness of this revival remains how it distills the spectacular original 1975 production and somehow, less really does become more.

Based on a 1926 play called “Chicago” by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a journalist turned playwright and screenwriter who covered the real-life sensational murder trials that form the basis of the fictional story, Fosse seized on the satirical possibilities. Watkins’ reporting and play focused on two accused women who claimed to be corrupted by men and the breathless coverage their “stories” in Chicago’s seven daily papers of the time. Fosse turned it all into a cynical, winking homage to vaudeville and show business.

Here, knowing director Ron Kellum clearly understands his outstanding assets in Broadway “Chicago” veterans Brenda Braxton as accused murderess Velma Kelly, Tom Hewitt as the lawyer Billy Flynn, and Roz Ryan as Matron “Mama” Morton. The coolly alluring Braxton turns up the heat instantly with the sultry opening “All That Jazz” and the longish first act that follows seems almost too front-loaded with signature production numbers. Lindsay Roginski, who shimmers as Roxie Hart, the accused murderess competing for headlines with Velma, matchesBraxton with an equally seductive “Funny Honey.” Braxton and Roginski are each accomplished dancers as well as strong vocalists, and they need it all in the extravagant production numbers centered on them. Velma and the cellblock girls ask for our sympathy in the “Cell Block Tango,” giving their side of their violent deeds, “It was murder, but it wasn’t a crime.”

Ryan confidently belts “When You’re Good to Mama” while the beautifully voiced Hewitt has superb turns on “All I Care About” and the comic masterpiece “We Both Reached For the Gun.” Ric Stoneback’s Amos Hart takes on the somber Bert Williams tribute “Mr. Cellophane” and Hewitt nearly stops the show with “Razzle Dazzle.” The ensemble’s fabulous Fosse-inspired dancing was finely choreographed by Randy Slovacek.

It’s hard to believe the Music Circus has never staged “Chicago” before, but this top-shelf, extended-run production makes up for much of that omission.


Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder

Read more articles by Marcus Crowder



Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Buy
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads
Make:

Model:

Price Range:
to
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older