Kander and Ebbs review style musical "Chicago" opened at the IU Auditorium Tuesday evening. The touring production is full sized and very accomplished. The twenty-two member cast list is studded with veterans of the Broadway and touring productions of the show. Vincent Fanuele led a full fourteen piece orchestra.
Terra MacLeod, the abrasively sexy Velma Kelly, introduced herself in the opening "All That Jazz" number. Michelle DeJean as Roxie Hart was the more sympathetic of the two headline grabbing murderesses. She got her best chance to stretch out in her song "Roxie." Lenny Daniel was Roxie’s victim, Kevin Carolan her schlub of a husband. Carol Woods was the jail matron"Mama" Morton who sings about the give an take of prison in "When You’re Good to Moma." Obba Babatunde was the slick celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn. In the midst of "Chicago"’s Bob Fosse style choreography, his character number "All I Care About" (is money) was a lovely, colorful reminder of the old fan dancers. R. Bean was the sympathetic newspaper reporter Mary Sunshine.
The first act of "Chicago" began strongly but then settled and was even a bit self indulgent with its pacing. It did finish well. The second act offered a strong performance of the surprisingly touching "Cellophane" by Roxie’s husband and nice duet lamenting the lowering of social standards from Velma and "Mama" Morton. Velma and Roxie’s duet dance number "Hot Honey Rag" wrapped up the show and left the applauding Auditorium audience standing for the ovation.
The musical "Chicago" has a single final performance at the IU Auditorium this evening at eight o’clock.
You can hear an interview with Michelle DeJean on our Arts Interviews page .