I have seen the 2002 movie adaptation multiple times but had never experienced the live musical until Sunday afternoon at Chicago's CIBC Theatre.
For those few who don't know, "Chicago" is the story of Velma and Roxie - a sexy cabaret singer and a sexy wanna-be cabaret singer, each of whom is arrested for murder. Sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn takes on their cases and manipulates the media to move public opinion in favor of the ladies.
The play contains almost no good people, no lessons learned, and no tale of moral redemption. The only one who shows kindness is Roxie's husband, Amos, who is so mistreated and ignored that he musically refers to himself as "Mr. Cellophane." ("Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name, 'cause you can look right through me; walk right by me; and never know I'm there!")
But the story is funny, and the songs are fantastic. And the production by this year's touring company featured great choreography and excellent singing from all the cast members. Logan Floyd and Katie Frieden are perfect as the amoral femme fatales Velma and Kelly Roxie, while Jeff Brooks shines as the sleazy Jeff Brooks. Other standouts included Brian Kainowski as the dimwitted Amos and Christina Wells portraying prison matron "Mama" Morton.
The music recalls the jazz of the 1920s and serves as a backdrop for the wild lives of the characters.
My seats in row 1 were labeled "Obstructed View" because we could not see the performers' feet. But this proximity to the stage made one feel a part of the show. On multiple occasions, the actors directed their lyrics right at us.
"Chicago" was a bucket list show for me. This was one of the most enjoyable performances I have attended.