The old ‘Razzle Dazzle’

2010-03-11 00:00

THE fabulous musical Chicago will be staged at The Theatre — St Anne’s College, in Hilton, from March 16 to March 18 at 7 pm.

With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and ­lyrics by Ebb, this is one of the world’s classic musicals — and its story of crime and passion, will be brought to life by a cast of talented young ­performers.

Chicago’s story is a satire on ­corruption in the administration of criminal justice, and the concept of the “celebrity criminal”. The musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on.

The original Broadway production opened on June 3, 1975 at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for a total of 936 ­performances. It returned to Broadway in 1996 and (according to Wikipedia) has had more than 5 400 ­performances as of January 12 this year.

So what’s it about? Chicago tells the story of ambitious chorus girl Roxie Hart, who is in prison for murdering her lover and trying to pin it on her hapless husband Amos. While behind bars she meets Velma Kelly, a headline star and also a murderess.

The two characters team up to form an unusual nightclub act, which they hope will keep them in the public eye. Desperate for fame, fortune and ­freedom, the women enlist the help of sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn. Both women will be hanged for their crimes if they lose their cases and are prepared to go to any lengths to ­escape execution.

Among the many wonderful songs in Chicago are All That Jazz, Razzle Dazzle, Class, All I Care About and Cell Block Tango.

St Anne’s Theatre director Lyn ­Chemaly believes that the musical is well timed. “Never before have the ­issues of press manipulation and the powerlessness of the judicial system been more appropriate for contemporary consumption,” she added. “In a world teeming with crime and ­violence, one questions how much has changed from the crazy world of Chicago in the twenties?”

The St Anne’s production promises stunning musical and dance numbers, infused with glitz and jazzy rhythms, and a healthy dose of ­comedy. And, an eight-piece band led by professional jazz musician Jeff Judge will back up the action.

Tickets for Chicago are R50 (R30 concessions) and can be booked at 033 343 3300.

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