Long before the Casey Anthony circus, the Broadway hit musical CHICAGO (Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse and based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb) made “getting away with murder” a higher art form. Metro Stage Company’s take on this popular and scantily-clad favorite is now running until October 29.
The story begins in the 1920’s. Vaudeville, bootleg whiskey, flappers, and garter belts rule the day. Enter a bored/trampy/you fill in the blank wife named Roxie Hart (Monica Abdel-Azim) who is sleeping with everyone except for her adorably dim-witted husband, Amos (Gary Ryan). When Roxie’s latest lover, Fred Casely (James Crosby) coldly casts her aside, she thanks him with three bullets to the chest. Cuffed and carted off to jail, it doesn’t look good for our gal until she meets Matron “Mama” Morton (Mary O’Donnell). The phrase “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” works wonderfully in jail too. For a price, Mama will make sure that you’re happy, well fed, and well defended by Billy Flynn (Ben DiScipio), the only lawyer who can throw enough “flimflam” into the jury’s eyes to dismiss even the most heinous crime. But it will cost ya…$5,000 big ones to turn the tide of public hostility into front page fodder…the ‘20s version of today’s star criminals. Lindsay Lohan take notes! Eventually, Roxie’s charge is dismissed and she is granted her freedom, only to learn that her adoring public has moved on to bigger and gorier interests.
Directed and choreographed by Karen Fogerty, this CHICAGO heats up the Boston October. Fogerty’s hybrid choreography a la Bob Fosse is an athletic explosion of raw sex that makes all the songs slink and shimmy across the stage. The orchestra directed by Rebekah Hardeson, will make you want to Charleston along with Roxie and Velma. I especially like “Funny Honey” (Roxie), “Cell Block Tango” (all of the murderous temptresses awaiting trial), “Mr. Cellophane” (the huggable Amos), “A Little Bit of Good” (Mary Sunshine), “When Velma Takes the Stand” (Velma), as well as “Razzle Dazzle” (Billy Flynn). All the actors contribute to the murderous mayhem!
So walk on your wild side and get over to the Metro Stage Company. But be forewarned! You may have a strong urge to dig out your leather and lace or possibly even do a few ab crunches inspired by this athletic cast. Conveniently, the Metro Stage Company’s theater is located within a YMCA. Hmmm…I wonder if I can take a pole dancing class there too?
CHICAGO is running until October 29.