Chicago brings all that jazz to Royal

By Sara Wilson

Broadway’s longest running American musical, Chicago is coming to the Royal Theatre for a limited one week run beginning Dec. 18 until Dec. 23.

Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

“Chicago has become a classic of the American musical genre. Representing the essential elements that create a legendary musical: exceptional musical score, outstanding choreography and amazing lyrics. All of these core elements are strong on their own, but create another elevated experience once combined on stage in front of a live audience,” Artistic Producer Henry Kolenko explained.

“The production has a sparse attitude in all its design elements: costumes, staging, lighting— allowing the music, singing and dancing to dominate the show.”

Chicago takes a satirical look at fame, justice, and the media. Set in 1920s Chicago and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star who murders her lover and is arrested, despite her attempts to convince her husband, Amos, to lie for her.

In jail, Hart meets her hero, the double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly. When both acquire the same lawyer, the greedy, Billy Flynn, tensions rise as they vie for the spotlight.

“Satire has always played an important role in history. Each individual will have their own emotional experience when coming to Chicago based on different lives lived,” Kolenko said. “… It may provide a moment or two of insightful awareness about the ways of our world — and, at the very least, a couple of hours of entertaining escape from it.” The hit musical was re-created into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones in 2002. The movie took home an Oscar thanks in part to hit songs such as All that Jazz and Mr. Cellophane and elaborate choreography. This isn’t the first Broadway production Kolenko has brought to Victoria, Mamma Mia! and Stomp both had sold-out runs in 2016 and 2013 respectfully.

Kolenko expects Chicago to have record-breaking tickets sales as well.

“It has been a four year process getting Chicago to Victoria,” Kolenko said. “Chicago will look amazing at the Royal Theatre. Because when it comes down to it— the Royal Theatre actually is very similar in style to most of the Broadway houses in New York. It’s intimate and has great sight-lines, The Royal Theatre with a capacity of 1402 seats is about half the size of Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre (cap. 2929). So even the back-balcony seats at the Royal Theatre are still very good seats in comparison.”

Performances run: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings at 8 p.m. Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2 p.m. Tickets for Chicago are $89 and $99 plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available at The McPherson Box Office and online at rmts.bc.ca.

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