Many of the dance numbers were very catchy, almost to the point where you could sing along if you didn’t already know the tunes, and then combined with the dynamic choreography performed by many of the cast of talented Gangsters all the way to the Razzle Dazzle Dancers, it’s perfection. Songs like, Razzle Dazzle, All That Jazz and Cell Block Tango exploded on stage.
Let’s not forget the gorgeous costume designs as well by Dana Osborne, from well-crafted suits to sultry and sparkly vaudeville outfits. The set design by Michael Gianfrancesco oozed smokey jazz bar days, where prohibition went well with a cup of coffee and a bit of mayhem.
In this story, two of the lead prison inmates and fame-seekers, Chelsea Preston as Roxie Hart and Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Velma Kelly were deeply committed to their performances and engaging. Their characters were both trigger-happy (thus being jailed for crimes of passion), seemingly coming across as rivals, as one never likes to share the spotlight. However, by intermission, it’s a sure thing that the commonalities of bringing down their scuzzy lawyer, Billy Flynn, (played brilliantly by Dan Chameroy) is paramount to their freedom and success to overthrow the constraints of societal expectations.
With many surprises along the way that I won’t spoil, a few things really stood out:
👉The shocking and stunning operatic vocals of reporter, Mary Sunshine, played by Robert Markus.
👉Dan Chameroy ignited the stage as sleazy lawyer, Billy Flynn, with a sheer spectacular performance from start to finish in the song “All I Care About.” Commanding a stage is very hard to do, many try, few succeed, yet Dan succeeds every time I have seen him perform. The most recent one before the pandemic struck was in the cult-favourite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
👉Then we have Steve Ross (I loved him in HMS Pinafore). This role was made for him, as Steve gives one most touching performances as Amos Hart, Roxie’s rather clueless, gullible yet lonesome husband. Mr. Cellophane was clearly made for this man to perform. As we hear the entire audience let out an “awww” as he exits the stage, we need a minute to take in a breath to appreciate what we just experienced in our thoughts and collectively as audience members.
👉Again, all the dancers who complemented so many scenes. Incredible stamina, flexibility, precision and energy.
After 2 years of not being able to see any performances due to the pandemic, walking through the Festival Theatre doors again was an utter joy for myself and my husband. Seeing Chicago was a perfect way to not only celebrate our 14th anniversary together, but to enjoy world-class entertainment and you know... all that jazz.