Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) and Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago. Written by
I've been a tap & jazz dancer most of my life. Chicago "razzle-dazzled" me into a state of great stage memories & utter delight in the revival of a dynamite musical. Bring them on! Don't know about you, but I need real entertainment... considering I live in the US during it's most politically corrupt decade. I need a dance, singing & music that is equal in intensity to my blues symptoms. "Chicago" is one of my 'cures'.
My favorite production is "The Jailhouse Tango." It made me reach way back to Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock." However, the stage of this era is much more well equipped to do such a gigantic show-stopping, lengthy, hysterically funny & ever so well danced & sung routine. I can watch that 1 number time & again & find something new I love about it. I also have to agree with the other commentators who couldn't find a single 'bad' number in the entire show.
Yes, Richard Gere can certainly dance & sing in a musical. I found the editing of the trial & Gere's tap dance utterly fascinating. You know, when a dancer is being filmed doing a routine we never know who or what will be in the final cuts. For instance, in "Staying Alive." I knew those dance routines & a few of the dancers. They were truly peeved at the nasty chop job that was done to great dance routines. Not so in "Chicago." Credit has to go also to terrific camera work which did the best job I've ever seen to avoid losing any parts of the stage or the all of dancers' movements.
Most outstanding is "Mr. Cellophane." Shirley Maclaine once did a TV version of "One" using her gorgeous figure & a simple hat, plus a series of ever so subtle dance moves that expressed pure classiness of pure Shirley the marvelous dancer. Reilly uses his costume & hat with those very few subtle moves to express the whole character he plays. It's easy to write he is quite emotionally moving & sings very well.
The contrast between the big production number of The Jailhouse Tango & Mr. Cellophane couldn't be greater. Tango is way high energy, lots of lovely female dancers & singers, with the exception of a very few males: Mr. Cellophane is nearly done in one man's singular slow motion. The choreography had to have been the dancers' delight! Yum.
Zellwenger & Zeta Jones make for a very similar contrast in both their dancing & singing styles. I was nearly shocked that Zeta-Jones could belt out a song Ethel Merman style! At times she brought Merman back to life. Zellwenger belongs in musicals she's so sizzling hot in dance costumes that accentuate a dancer's body & she can really sing while she's performing the piece quite exotically. I can see why prudish folks detest the show. It's sensuous with lots of sexy body work going on. Puritanicals Beware! Nevertheless, the way The Jailhouse Tango started off quite cleverly with such a simple sound as the drip, drip of a jail cell faucet to pace the rhythmic beat at the beginning of the production number was unique & brilliant. So that's one reason why I write that number is the one that stands out most to me. But just as I write that I recall the big number of the live human 'puppets'. How clever was that. Zellwenger & Gere pulled that one off masterfully together with much of the cast as their backup chorus.
I can't possibly understand anyone who writes that it was a flop or they didn't like it. But I do respect your opinions. 10 of 10, undoubtedly. (Chicago makes "Moulin Rouge" look like gooey overly-romantic, made for teenagers, face sucking >blek<. I'm too old to appreciate that nonsense. Give me the all out flaming musical for adults ::winking::).
PS--If you love song & dance musicals, or want to, see "Cats." (Or perhaps fast forward to Grizabella's scene singing & acting out Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic rendition of "Memories"). Musicals can take us away from the heaviness of today to another realm to view the insides of another character through their movements & songs. Thank you for reading me~
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