Monday, April 27, 2009

Chicago (Ambassador Theatre)

By Ben Charles

a Broadway classic • incredible dancing • brilliant songs • outstanding showmanship • Fosse, yes, Bob Fosse.

BOTTOM LINE: Fun music, killer dancing and a great time. If you haven’t seen Chicago you need to. It’s really that simple.

As I write this a few days after seeing Chicago for the first time, all I can say is wow, what a show. It’s brilliant. There is a reason soooo many people love this musical. It has a smart story, memorable songs, a great live orchestra, very creative choreography and world class dancing.

For starters, this is a Bob Fosse show. The legendary choreographer's signature style is extremely cool and even a little badass. (Read Fosse's bio here.) It takes impressive talent and skill to pull of his choreography and when it works it’s awesome, especially on a grand Broadway stage. The cast I saw was a collection of veteran performers who owned the stage and knew how to put on a great show. This musical is still worth seeing live on stage, even if you’ve seen the 2002 film (starring Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones).

The original Broadway production of Chicago ran from 1975-1977; this current production is the first revival and has been playing since 1996. With so many new musicals out there it could easily be passed over or taken for granted because it’s been running for so long. But Chicago presents music and dancing without anything that is overdone or hyper-produced. It’s the talent and skill of the artists that carry this show and each song and dance number is fantastic. It’s hard to believe how much quality each number possesses. You’ll recognize the songs and be singing them well after you leave the theater. The story, about showbiz, murder and society, may be hard to follow at first because there are lot of characters and no real sets, but once you get past the first few songs the plot becomes clear and it’s a nice ride through to the finale.

I can imagine that it’d be easy for this show to be passed over by New Yorkers who take it for granted or out-of-towners who fear it isn’t as fresh as many newer productions. It isn't stale by any means. As I said at the beginning, there is a reason it has been running for so long. It’s a damn good show and well worth your time and money to see. The risqué costumes and material make it a bit PG-13, but it’s still a smart choice for anyone who wants to see some live music, killer dancing, a fun story, and classic Broadway.

(Chicago plays at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 West 49th Street. Performances are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2:30pm and 8pm and Sunday at 2:30pm and 7pm. The show runs 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. Tickets are $64-$121.50 and a limited number of $31.50 rush tickets are available on the day of the performance at the box office. Visit for tickets. Check out for more show info.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently saw this play in March and I was wondering if you knew the name of the dancer in the ensemble with long blond hair? I thought she was the most talented in the cast.