Chicago dances its way into Northern Nevada next month | NevadaAppeal.com

Chicago dances its way into Northern Nevada next month

Special to the LVN
Three members from the cast of "Chicago" include, from left Robin Kato, .Jeff Chamberlin and Kristen Charismas.
PHOTO BY E. NICHOLS |

Murder. Corruption. Greed. Fame. And all that jazz. The Western Nevada Musical Theater Company brings the sizzling Broadway blockbuster, “Chicago,” to Northern Nevada on weekends, May 9-18.

Set in the windy city during the roaring 1920’s, the show follows the stories of two murderers — nightclub singer Velma Kelly, who kills her husband and sister when she finds them cheating on her; and aspiring vaudeville singer Roxie Hart, who murders her lover for promising to get her into show biz, only to get her into bed.

Slick, razzle-dazzle lawyer Billy Flynn takes on their cases for big money and sob-sister reporter Mary Sunshine turns their trials into soap opera spectacles, making the murderesses celebrities.

While the music and message of the satire may be universal, the original book was based on two cases in a long string of court acquittals for women who murdered their husbands or boyfriends in Chicago during the 1920s, as covered by the Chicago Tribune and the Hearst newspapers.

Composers John Kander and Frank Ebb filled this sizzling production with non-stop hits, including the famous “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango.” The choreography still reflects the style of original choreographer Bob Fosse, who told the story with sleek, scantily-clad dancers. With one explosive dance number after another, Chicago has been honored with six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and standing ovations from audiences all over the world. The show has become the longest-running American show on Broadway, playing continuously to enthusiastic audiences for 17 years.

Written in the style of a “concept” musical, the show revolves around the idea that every facet of the criminal system is one big show, with the best performers winning the prize: freedom, wealth and celebrity. Kander and Ebb illustrated this by turning Roxie’s trial into a series of show-stopping production numbers, from the showy Vegas-like appearance of celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn in “All He Cares About is Love” to Billy’s circus-like vision of a courtroom in “Razzle Dazzle.”

While the show is typically done with no sets and black dance costumes throughout, the WNMTC production deviates from that. “I’ve decided to carry the concept of the criminal process as a theater production to the costumes and sets as well as the song and dance numbers,” said producer/director Stephanie Arrigotti. “The show is about using “Razzle Dazzle” to win your case, so I’m using glitzy costumes and sets to make that point.”

Starring in the WNMTC production is Kristin Charismas as Roxie, Robin Kato as Velma, Jeff Chamberlin as Billy Flynn, Cindy Sabatini as Mama Morton, Jeffrey Fast as Amos Hart and Christina Bourne as Mary Sunshine. More than 30 dancers complete the cast.

Gina Kaskie Davis choreographs and Kevin Murphy conducts a 14-piece orchestra.

The show will play at the Carson City Community Center weekends, May 9-18. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 17.

Parental guidance is suggested.

Individual show tickets cost $28 and $25, according to their location in the theater. Tickets to Chicago as well as discounted season tickets, which include November’s exquisite production of “My Fair Lady,” are available at wnmtc.com or from ProTix at 866-977-6849. For more information, call 775-445-4249.