Last week I was wowed by the Tony Award winning revival of Chicago: The Musical, now celebrating 20 years on Broadway! Chicago: The Musical is still going strong because it's everything a Broadway show should be: memorable songs, top-notch dancing, and a story everyone can relate to.
The current cast stars former Spice Girl and current America's Got Talent Judge Mel B as "Roxie Hart," two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber as the slick talking lawyer "Billy Flynn," Amra-Faye Wright as "Velma Kelly" and Natasha Yvette Williams as "Matron 'Mama' Morton."
Kicking things off was Amra-Faye Wright. From the moment she takes the stage and starts singing the first note of "All That Jazz," I was hooked! Her voice is amazing and her dancing is exquisite. I wish I could kick my leg just half as high as she can. I did not get to see Mel B's Broadway debut in Rent, so I was even more excited to get to see her in Chicago: The Musical. Well, Mel B, is a star! She is a fantastic actress (losing her British accent and taking on a Chicago one) whose voice I was already a fan of. Mel B is a perfect fit as "Roxie Hart." She brilliantly conveyed the highs, lows, and every emotion in between that "Roxie" experiences. I think it was Mel B's own life dreams of wanting to be famous and rise to fame with the Spice Girls that helped her identify with "Roxie's" storyline. When Mel B made her entrance, it didn't take me long to lose sight of her and just see the character of "Roxie!" Both Amra-Faye and Mel B gave a spot on portrayal of the comradery and competiton between "Velma" and "Roxie." I could see a true friendship between these two, especially during the final two songs "Nowadays" and "Hot Honey Rag." The fun they have together really came out.
I have been a fan of Christopher Sieber for over 10 years now, so I was thrilled to finally get to see him in the role of "Billy Flynn" (I have missed his previous stints in Chicago: The Musical). What can I say that hasn't been said about Christopher already...he's a talent. That voice. The acting. I could easily listen to him sing on a loop. He has great chemistry with everyone. Natasha Yvette Williams is a dynomite "Matron 'Mama' Morton." She has the voice of an angel and the comedic chops that role requires. She got the laugh every time she was on stage. I loved Raymond Bokhour as "Amos Hart." I think I saw him the last time around too, but what a terrific character actor he his. "Amos" is a man with low self-esteem who often feels invisible. There is NOTHING invisible about Raymond Bokhour's interpretation of "Amos." The cheers and applause he got during "Mister Cellophane" is proof of just how wonderful Raymond is in this show. There is also "Mary Sunshine," played by R. Lowe. The vocals on this man are unreal! You could hear a pin drop every time he sang and sing he did...all the way up to notes I have never heard! Let's not forget the dancers. What a joy it was to see this timeless choreography! All the dancers kept me mesmerized, especially Brian Spitulnik and James T. Lane.
I can't write about Chicago: The Musical without mentioning the songs. Seeing this production reminded me just how much I LOVE this score: "All That Jazz," "Cell Block Tango" (I think this is my all-time favorite Chicago: The Musical song), "When You're Good To Mama," "Roxie," "I Can't Do It Alone," "My Own Best Friend," "Me and My Baby," "Mister Cellophane," "Razzle Dazzle," and "Nowadays." Every song helps move the story forward and resonates after the curtain comes down.
Some long-running shows go stale after years on Broadway, but Chicago: The Musical is not one of them. After 20 years on Broadway, it's still got that fresh, exciting feeling! The cast is having a great time, which allows the audience to have an even better one! Chicago: The Musical will "Razzle Dazzle" you whether it's your first time seeing the show or your hundredth time! So "Tap Dance" your way over to The Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) to take in this classic show! Click here for tickets!
Mel B and Christopher Sieber will be starring in Chicago: The Musical through February 19 only!
If you missed my video interview with Mel B, you can watch it here!
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