Friday, October 11, 2013

Broward Center: Chicago (Reviews)

BAA_Chicago_2Broadway Across America brought the national tour of Chicago to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on October 9, 2013.
Broadway's razzle-dazzle smash Chicago returns to Fort Lauderdale. The triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations. A sensational tale of murder, sin, corruption, greed and "all that jazz," Chicago is filled with knockout dancing, an edge-of-your-seat story and one showstopper after another.
Walter Bobbie directed a cast that included John O’Hurley, Ann Horak, Terra C. McCleod, Carol Woods, D. Micciche, Todd Buonopane, and Ian Compayno.   David Bushman staged Ann Reinking’s recreation of the original choreography by Bob Fosse.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
There are reasons, loads of them, for the longevity of this version of Chicago, a show that didn’t enjoy the same level of success when it first hit Broadway in 1975. All of the revival’s slick charm is on display in the production launching the 2013-2014 touring Broadway season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts this week.
The joys of Chicago flow from its artful, sardonic musical numbers... The challenging choreography, which Fosse dancer and muse Ann Reinking created in his style for the revival (here, it’s re-created by David Bushman), celebrates so many of the master’s signature touches: shoulders thrown back with dangling arms artfully swaying, hands dropped from the wrist with fingers splayed just so, prop bowler hats and drooping cigarettes. Permeating everything is that secret Fosse ingredient, smoldering sensuality.
The touring performers deliver the goods in this Chicago. MacLeod is the better dancer as the desperate Velma, Horak the better singer as the fame-famished yet beguiling Roxie, yet the two leads are a complementary pair. O’Hurley, who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld and hosted Family Feud, is one of the better singers to play Billy, and though his rich baritone gets a workout, you wish some of his proven Dancing With the Stars skills could get a little more stage time. As the manipulative jail matron Mama Morton, powerhouse vocalist Carol Woods turns When You’re Good to Mama into a mightily entertaining argument for quid pro quo.
As for the provocatively dressed dancer-singer-actors who give Chicago its arresting moves and vocal richness, they’re terrific. And they probably have the lowest percentage of body fat of any Broadway touring company that will play South Florida this season.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
As reliable as a recording, this 17-year-old revival on what is likely its eleventh national tour remains as entertaining as ever thanks to the knife-sharp crispness in execution by a cast that never coasts.
This crew on the second week of an 11-city tour is almost all veterans of New York and touring productions of Chicago, and their comfort with material shows as they drop back into what is essentially a very well-constructed and well-maintained machine.
Hear Terra C. MacLeod as the jaded Velma Kelly put a sizzling sibilance into the z’s when she sings the opening “All That Jazz.” Hear Carol Woods deliver “When You’re Good to Mama” with the kind of topspin that a Marlins pitcher would envy. Vicariously enjoy Anne Horak’s ebullient daydreams of vaudeville stardom in “Roxie.”
…last but not least, headliner John O’Hurley slips on Billy Flynn’s elan as comfortably as he does the lawyer’s tuxedo. O’Hurley, known for everything from Seinfeld to Dancing With The Stars, has done the role more than 1,000 times, he says. As a result, a vermouth-smooth grace imbues his every movement and that famous deep baritone that puts across his songs with the gusto of an Irish tenor.
As always, the ensemble are breathtakingly hard-bodied singer-dancers who exude pure lust. They effortlessly contort their bodies into the endlessly inventive choreography that Reinking created in the style of Fosse’s kinetic vocabulary of angular, hip-snapping impudence. The muscle-tearing extensions, the kicks seemingly above the heads will make your body ache the next day just remembering their sleek, slinky and sinuous moves.
The national tour of Chicago plays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through October 20, 2013.

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