Chicago at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts
The cast of "Chicago" begins yet another national tour around the country. This tour was by far one of the fiercest things I've seen on a stage. The leading ladies were eye catching, showing a lot of leg, however that didn't keep the audience away from listening how amazing the voices were. The cast included Terra MacLeod as Velma Kelly (who has a long running resume with Chicago, starring in the Broadway & West End Companies to the French Premiere), Tracy Shayne as Roxie Hart (who joins straight from the current Broadway production) and even the award-winning actor John O'Hurley as Billy Flynn. These three leading personalities skill in singing, dancing and acting proved this show to be the perfect triple threat musical, some performing better than others.
One of the first things I noticed and that all I could think of through the night was how after the Overture, the beginning couple of notes for "All that Jazz" began to play, I was amazed and stunned when Velma Kelly (MacLeod) emerged from a rising platform. She looked stunning as I began to clap for her....only to realize no one else was. However later in the show when John O'Hurley simply walked on stage the audience went nuts for him. I understand he is a star however this is a topic that has always gotten to me. The way people will be interested in a musical for one night just to see a big named star who to be honest didn't do as well as I'd hoped. He was absolutely nothing compared to the combined power of MacLeod and Shayne. I thought his dance moves were very...simple for someone who made it to the last round of "Dancing With the Stars."
Ann Reinking, choreographer of the original New York Production, does brilliantly with sexy and seductive choreography. The use of each actor and actresses hips, shoulders and fish net stocking legs make for a very crisp and precise combination of dance moves. I've seen a lot of shows ranging from The Ordway, The Guthrie, The Orpheum and even a handful of shows in New York on Broadway and never have I seen such amazing dance moves. You know a musical is great when you can't pick out that one weak dancer and let alone some of the strongest dancers were the male actors.
I was almost a little disappointed in the set design. It was a little too simple. The used down stage as a platform for the actors to use however upstage was a giant almost sandbox looking square that was set upright where the pit orchestra actually played. Sometimes the actors would even perform conversations with the conductor for their was a staircase leading up to the middle of the square. Always a favorite for us theatre lovers, breaking the fourth wall.
This national tour of Chicago was by far one of the best productions I've seen in a long time. I still can't get the catchy tunes out of my head as well as the fabulous dance moves. This musical will have you dancing all the way home and snapping all the way to Chicago.