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'Chicago' Revival Wows At The Arsht

This Show That Ain't Ever Gonna Die


Roger Martin, ATCA

The internet isn't big enough to list all the productions, performances, records, awards and stars of “Chicago”. It smashed onto Broadway in 1975, that's 43 years ago for the 2 + 2 challenged, and in that time I flat guarantee you that the memories of the singing and dancing have become everlasting.

Briefly, 1920's Chicago, chorus girls, crooked pols and mouth pieces, sex and murder. Jail houses, court rooms, sleazy apartments. And best of all, twenty musical numbers by Kander and Ebb danced to Ann Reinking's Bob Fosse style choreo.

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Roxie is fooling around on the side, gets ticked at her current lover and shoots him three times. Gets arrested, jailed and tried. Simple, huh?

Roxie is played by Bianca Marroquin and if you think she's at ease in the role, read her bio. She made her Broadway debut as Roxie in 2002. Cute, adorable, terrific singer and dancer and plain damn funny. It's rare to see a Roxie who makes every moment as hilarious.

(Read The Feature: Click Here: Bianca Marroquin, Roxie Hart )

Velma, Roxie's jail house rival, is Terra C. MacCleod, also a “Chicago” veteran who originated the role in the French version in Montreal and Paris. A great singer and dancer, she's the perfect foil.

Paul Vogt plays Amos, Roxie's self effacing husband and of course has the hit song, “Mr Cellophane” with the lines...'hard to look right through him, walk right by him' somewhat ironic as Mr Vogt is a large man with a gorgeous voice.

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The Irish lawyer, Billy Flynn, in this Miami version is Jaime Camil, well known to Spanish audiences and greeted with roaring applause. Kind of fun to listen to a slight Spanish accent from an Irishman, but it worked.

Jennifer Fouché is Matron “Mama” Morton. A huge voice with belts on demand.

Roxie's lover/victim, Fred the furniture salesman, is played by Michael Kolaczkowski. Muscles and verve.

Mary Sunshine is played by the delicious soprano D.Ratell.

There's little to the set of this “Chicago”. A bare stage with a tiered section seating the orchestra is centered. Movable scaffolds and chairs left and right for the ensemble. The lighting is spartan black and white, spots picking up the performers, the rest dim.

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And as to the orchestra, the show travels with a musical conductor, Robert Billig, two pianists and a drummer. Eleven local Miami musicians have been added. Their work is outstanding, especially the brass and reed sections. The clarity and precision define the show.

This 21 member all union show is polish personified, slick and sophisticated; wow applause after every brilliant number.

“Chicago” plays through May 13 at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. 305-949-6722. http://www.arshtcenter.org

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