Chicago is one of the most ambitious, flashier theatre offerings, and “all that jazz,” and Morgan-Wixson Theatre lives up to the show’s fine reputation. It is talky and big in a theatrical mode, with stylish song and dance, and “hot girl” assassins. This John Kander/Fred Ebbs/Bob Fosse fave is revived by director Anne Gesling and choreographer Krystal Combs, who razzle dazzles ‘em with every step. A little tap, a little jazz, and a lot of fun will be had by all. The story is told of a chorus girl turned criminal, Roxie Hart, played by Ayelet Firstenberg, making her stage debut at the MWT. After murdering her lover, Roxie seeks the help of huckster attorney, Billy Flynn (Kevin Yarbrough), and becomes a vaudeville star.
Of particular note is the number “We Both Reach for the Gun,” where Roxie’s facial expressions perfectly simulate a puppet, as Billy brilliantly orchestrates and pulls the strings. Another standout is the final scene of the first act, “My Own Best Friend,” where Roxie and Velma (Krystal Combs) finally bond, yet know that ultimately one must depend on oneself through life’s trials and tribulations.
Set in Chicago, the home of gangsters the likes of Al Capone, this classic musical is a story of murder, mayhem, greed and vast amounts of corruption. In this town, where the “girls are cold, and the piano’s hot,” and the latest crime news headlines are a form of entertainment, the ensemble pleases the crowd caught up in a great city/mad world of jazz/ cabaret and liquor.
Who says that “murder is not an art?” Chicago proves it’s an art form at its finest, with musical theatre at a Broadway level here on a West Coast stage.
Chicago runs through July 30 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre located at 2627 W. Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.