Cortland Repertory Theatre will serve up plenty of "razzle dazzle" in the second show of their 40th Anniversary "Ruby Jubilee" season as they present the notoriously sassy and jazzy musical "Chicago", with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book written by Ebb and Bob Fosse, based on the play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins. The original Broadway production which starred Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, opened in 1975 and ran for 936 performances. The current Broadway revival opened in 1996 and holds the record for the longest-running musical revival and Broadway's fifth longest-running show. As of April, it has played for more than 5,900 performances. There have been productions on London's West End, and several national tours and international productions. The film version won the Academy Award in 2002 and starred Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere.
Performances of CRT's "Chicago" will hit the stage from June 22 - July 9 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 24, 26, 29 and July 6 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is lively, mildly sexual and has some minor adult language. Mature audiences are advised.
Dateline: Chicago, Illinois; the 1920's. The times are roaring with hot jazz and cold-blooded killers. Two "killer-dillers" - Velma Kelly, a vaudeville performer who shot her husband and her sister when she caught them in bed together, and Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who shoots her departing lover, find themselves vying for the attention of lawyers and the press. Helping them along their way to fame, fortune and acquittal are Billy Flynn a sleazy song-and-dance attorney, Matron "Mama" Morton the "keeper of the clink" jailhouse for women, Mary Sunshine a reporter who sees the good in everyone, and Roxie's colorless, invisible husband Amos. With one of the best musical scores in musical theatre history, the show tells the fast paced story as Roxie and Velma compete at becoming the most famous killer while avoiding the death penalty. Songs include "All That Jazz", "Mr. Cellophane", "Razzle Dazzle" and "The Cell Block Tango".
"We're very excited to bring this musical to CRT for the first time." says CRT Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson, who will also be playing the lawyer Billy Flynn. "I'm thrilled with the cast and the production team. I'm sure this group will blow the roof off the Pavilion!"
The director of "Chicago" is Bill Kincaid, whose previous CRT credits include "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks", "A Few Good Men" and "Almost Maine". Choreography is by Kevin P. Hill in his first show at CRT. Hill served as Assistant Choreographer on the recent Broadway revival of "Guys and Dolls" and Assistant Director of the Broadway concert version of "On the 20th Century". Music Direction is handled by Eric Johnson, in his first show at CRT.
Joining Thompson in the cast are Rin Allen as Velma Kelly and Charlotte Fox as Roxie Hart, Both ladies are making their CRT debut, as is Debra Taïse Evans who will play Matron "Mama" Morton. Danny Blaylock previously seen in "Rumors" and "Johnny Guitar" will play the hapless Amos Hart, with C. Desjardins as Mary Sunshine. The other merry murderesses on Death Row who sing the "Cell Block Tango" are Marissa Dompe in her fourth CRT production, and Katy O'Donnell, along with CRT Performing Interns Jennifer Holcombe, Renee Reinecke and Sarah VanFossen. The male ensemble includes Dániel Rákász, Kurt Merrill, Alexander Rivera, and Performing Interns Joseph DePietro, Evan Montgomery and Shawn Smith.
Stage Manager Kris Valentine is charged with organizing the production and crew. Design staff includes most returnees from CRT's previous show "Rumors" including Scenic Designer Jason Bolan, Costume Designer Jimmy Johansmeyer, Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle, Sound Designer Dave Huber, and Props Mistress Danielle Hodgin. Patrick McGovern continues as Technical Director as does Tracy Hoida as Assistant Stage Manager.
CRT continues the tradition of "Friday Night Talk Backs" at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew take place after every Friday evening performance. Tickets are also on sale for the rest of CRT's summer season, including the upcoming "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", Agatha Christie's "A Murder is Announced", "The Smell of the Kill", "Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins" and four performances of the children's show "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz". See CRT's website for more details at www.cortlandrep.org.