Chicago Razzle-Dazzles Orange County at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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The sensational seductive 6-time Tony Award winning musical CHICAGO has arrived at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa for a limited engagement. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, stop waiting and head to SCFTA.org now to get yours before CHICAGO dances off stage Sunday, February 2nd.

There’s a reason why CHICAGO is now the longest running Broadway American show. The musicals stunning performances, cherished songs, and glitz and glamour has soared the show to pure stardom. This tour includes JOHN O’HURLEY whom is best known from his role on Seinfeld and recently winning Dancing with the Stars and now reprising his role as the slick lawyer Billy Flynn. Also making their return is PAIGE DAVIS (Gloria in Boeing, BoeingSweet CharityThe Vagina Monolauges) in the role as Roxie Hart.  These two alone make this production something special bringing everything you want out of a good OFF-Broadway show.

Set admits the roaring 20’s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly played by TERRA C. MacLEOD (Returning to the role after playing her around the world, Blood BrothersThe Producers), by hiring Chicago’s most popular criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines. It’s those very headlines Roxie has always dreamed of, but it’s the very thing that could hold her back from finding her own happiness.

CHICAGO is designed slightly different than you stereotypical onstage musical Broadway is known for.  The differences you may find refreshing if you are unfamiliar with the stage production. The sets are minimal and the band plays onstage the entire performance. What I find even more unique is that majority of the dancers and cast are sitting along the side curtains throughout the show. This is more of a telling of a story with the focus on the music and dancing opposed to large sets and transformations of settings.

The show begins with a quick introduction along with a little narrating from scene to scene from the band conductor Jesse Kissel, breaking down that 4th wall.  You will quickly notice a small band named The Side Street Strutters Jazz Band on stage leaving the actual performing space quite small yet more personal for the audience.  The look created with excellent lighting and a couple scattered old diner-like wooden chairs is instantly recognizable for fans of the Miramax film.  It has the same feel they went for during several numbers in the jail where the majority of this story takes places.

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As the lights come up and the band begins to play, it will only take a couple of notes for you to recognize it’s the CHICAGO anthem, “All That Jazz” is playing. You should be mesmerized from Velma’s first words until the end of Act I. The show flows nicely with one smash-hit after another.  Every song sounds as one should expect if you are at all familiar with the music.

Cellmate Matron “Mama” Morton played by CAROL WOODS definitely has a breakthrough performance beginning with “When You’re Good to Mama” with powerful vocals and some of the best comedic timing. C. NEWCOMER is supreme in the roll of Mary Sunshine and O’HURLEY subtle antics with Mary are fantastic.

O’HURLEY’s portrayal of Billy Flynn is quite different from the films take, but I cannot compare to past productions as I am not too familiar with how it was originally portrayed. However, if you know O’HURLEY’s past work then his representation won’t surprise you. It’s very… well, him! Expect J. Peterman from Seinfeld yet more suave and classy, but the same humor as his normal roles.  Billy is really in it for the money where as the films portrayal appeared to be more about trying to save Roxie.

DAVIS is an absolute delight as Roxie. Even with all of her flaws and bad character, I couldn’t help but adore her. She has some very corky parts that are endearing and yet has the other levels of the shallow character Roxie actually is. I wish I could say more for MacLEOD as Velma. She has played this role on and off for a long time and is still good, but it didn’t jump out to me like some of the others did

Roxie’s husband Amos is played by original on-tour cast member RON ORBACH. He’s as lovable and charming as you might expect. His silly solo was fun and he could hold his own. Everyone really fit their part well and I wasn’t dissatisfied with anyone.

The guts of this show though is truly the dancing and singing. All the performers are fit and know how to show their sensual side. It’s definitely a sexy show and not recommended as a family outing. As a jazz fan, I really enjoyed it being more of a jazz performance too

CHICAGO is wildly entertaining without a dull moment. Check out some themed food beforehand at “The Onyx Club” in the Fire Bird Cafe at the Hall and make this a classy date night. It’s fun, not terribly deep and quite arousing. Get out there and enjoy this well-loved show!

CHICAGO  is now playing at Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

January 28th – February 2, 2014
Tuesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.

The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, February 1st will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.

Tickets start at $29

For more information visit scfta.org

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