Total Rating: 
November 14, 1996
open run
Other Dates: 
Moved to Broadway's Ambassador Theater
New York
New York
Barry & Fran Weissler w/ Kardana Productions.
Theater Type: 
Shubert Theater
Theater Address: 
225 West 44th Street
(212) 307-4100
Running Time: 
2 hrs, 30 min
Book: Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse, based on play by Maurine Dallas Watkins; Music: John Kander; Lyrics: Fred Ebb.
Walter Bobbie

It's hard to tell which aspect of Chicago makes us feel more nostalgic, the look of Bob Fosse's rhythmic, pelvic choreography; the ricky-tick jazziness of its archetypal Kander and Ebb score; or simply the fact that in 1975, when Chicago first hit Broadway, America wasn't yet ready to believe that a cold-blooded murderer with a good lawyer could get away with everything. Now Chicago's cynicism feels almost quaint. We don't need to be told the media attacks every scandal in a feeding frenzy and then drops the carcass when another meal appears. Chicago's value as entertainment now comes chiefly from the way fine dancers and larger-than-life theater personalities can mix outrageous camp and deadpan seriousness, not to mention the way Kander and Ebb's score holds together as a unified -- and awesomely zippy -- song cycle.

Ruthie Henshall (unreviewed) now plays Roxie Hart, the remorseless murderess who not only expects to escape the noose but hopes to launch a vaudeville career from the notoriety. Charlotte D'Amboise is the new Velma.

Much has been made of Chicago's too-spare set (the show was originally revived as a concert staging and hasn't exactly been glitzed up for its Broadway run), and truth to tell, a little more color wouldn't hurt. But with limber chorus dancers and eye candy chorines, who needs more than a ramp, a ladder and a bandstand?

adult themes
Ruthie Henshall, Charlotte D'Amboise, Michael Kubala (Fogarty), Mamie Duncan-Gibbs (Annie), etc.
Choreography: Ann Reinking, in the style of Bob Fosse; Set: John Lee Beatty; Costumes: William Ivey Long; Lighting: Ken Billington; Sound: Scott Lehrer; Orig Orchest: Ralph Burns; Dance Music Arr: Peter Howard; Script Adapt: David Thompson; Music Coord: Seymour Red Press; Casting: Jay Binder; PR: Pete Sanders; Tech Sup: Arthur Siccardi.
1997 Tony: Musical Revival; Actor (Naughton); Actress (Neuwirth); Director (Bobbie); Choreog (Reinking); Lighting (Billington). 1997 Drama Desk: Musical Revival; Director (Bobbie); Actress (Neuwirth); Featured Actor (Grey); Lighting (Billington); Choreog (Reinking). 1997 Astaire: Dancers (Reinking & Neuwirth); Choreog (Reinking). 1997 Drama League: Revival; Performance (Neuwirth). 1997 OCC: Revival, Director (Bobbie), Actress (Neuwirth), Feat Actor (Grey), Choreog (Reinking)
Other Critics: 
AISLE SAY David Spencer +
David Lefkowitz
Date Reviewed: 
November 1996