The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through October 28, 2012
By Walt Haggerty
“A story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery…” It’s all there in all its sizzling, red hot glory, in the touring production of Kander and Ebb’s paean to the evils of the Jazz age, and the audience loved it.
The original production opened in 1975, the same year as “A Chorus Line.” “Chicago” received good notices and achieved a long run, but “Chorus Line” received the bulk of attention and the awards. In 1996, New York’s City Center Encores presented “Chicago” in concert, and, as the saying goes, “the rest is history!” That same year the show was given a full Broadway treatment and deserved awards. Today it is the longest running American musical in history.
The production at the Bushnell is a worthy reincarnation of its Broadway twin, with the incredible “in the style of Bob Fosse” choreography created by Ann Reinking, this time reproduced by Gary Chryst. Scott Faris is credited with recreating Walter Bobbie’s New York direction. High praise is due all.
Star billing is given to Christie Brinkly and she delivers a convincing “Roxie” portrayal with humor and style. Amra-Faye Wright’s “Velma” never misses a beat in a knock-their-socks-off series of show-stoppers, starting with “All That Jazz.” And they just keep getting better.
Kecia Lewis-Evans single-handedly scores a grand slam with “Matron’ Mama’ Morton” with an over-the-top delivery of “When You’re Good to Mama,” and, together with Wright, the duo squeeze every ounce of sardonic humor out of “Class.”
John O’Hurley brings his own brand of “Razzle Dazzle” to Billy Flynn, with great looks, charm, a voice to match, and a winning performance. Ron Orbach’s “Amos,” the forgotten husband, is right on target with “Mr. Cellophane,” and D. Micciche’s “Mary Sunshine” is a gem.
“Chicago” is an inventive masterpiece of theatre. For a thrilling evening of theatre “Chicago” deserves another viewing.