Chicago, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, has delighted audiences around the world with its two Vaudevillian criminals Roxie and Velma. The pair are sent to Cook County Jail after they both commit murders, and the show takes you through their crimes, time in prison and subsequent trials. It’s set to a classic soundtrack featuring showstoppers such as “All That Jazz”, “I Can’t Do It Alone” and “Razzle Dazzle”.
The revival of the musical opened in London at the Phoenix Theatre on 26th March 2018, with an official opening night on 11th April.
Billy Flynn is currently played by RuPaul's Drag Race's Todrick James, and Caroline Flack is set to take over as Roxie Hart,
Until 1st September, the role of Billy Flynn was played by Spandau Ballet singer Martin Kemp, who previously appeared in the UK tour of Million Dollar Quartet and is also known for playing Steve Owen in EastEnders. He will play Billy Flynn, the smooth lawyer who can win any case, and is tasked with defending Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart in their headling-making cases. This new West End production of Chicago saw Cuba Gooding Jr. make his London theatre debut. Gooding is best known for his roles in the films Boyz n the Hood, Jerry Maguire and Men of Honor.
After originally premiering at the 46th Street Theatre (now Richard Rodgers) in 1975 in a production directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, the musical became a cult hit thanks to its exceptional performances and catchy score by John Kander and Fred Ebb. The first London production opened in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre in 1979 where it ran for over 600 performances, starring Jenny Logan, Ben Cross and Antonia Ellis. It went on to be nominated for Musical of the Year at the Olivier Awards.
Throughout its Broadway run the show has been seen in three theatres and currently plays at the Ambassador Theatre where it is now the second longest-running Broadway show of all time, behind The Phantom of the Opera.
A London revival opened on 18 November 1997 in the West End, once again directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. The production won the 1998 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical and throughout its run welcomed cast members including Marti Pellow, David Hasselhoff, John Barrowman, Maria Friedman, Denise Van Outen and Claire Sweeney.
A film of the musical was also produced in 2002 starring Catherine Zeta-Jones (Velma), Renée Zellweger (Roxie) and Richard Gere (lawyer Billy Finn). The film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and received 13 nominations, winning six awards.
Chicago the Musical was most recently seen in London in 2016 and starred John Partridge, Sophie Carmen-Jones and Hayley Tamaddon.
Chicago the Musical Tickets are available now.
Chicago the Musical follows 'not your usual housewife', Roxie Hart, who gains dubious notoriety when she kills her boyfriend, invents her defence and manipulates everyone from her trustworthy husband to the fickle media and the unsuspecting public. A harsh satire on media, fame and justice, the musical is set in 1920s Chicago and follows a sleazy celebrity lawyer as he works to get whip up a jury in order to turn two murderers into stars. The Kander and Ebb score features well known songs such as "All That Jazz", "Razzle Dazzle", "All I Care About" and "Mr. Cellophane".
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Phoenix Theatre Information
Location: West End
Railway station: Euston
Bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 14, 24, 29, 176; (Shaftesbury Avenue) 19, 38
Night bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 14, 24, 176 N29, N41, N279; (Shaftesbury Avenue) N5, N19, N20, N38
Car park: Chinatown (5mins)
Directions from tube: (3mins) Take Tottenham Court Road south (towards Leicester Square) and the theatre will be on your left after 100 metres.
Cast and creative
Cast List: Duncan James (as Billy Flynn), Mazz Murray (as Mama Morton), Sarah Soetaert (as Roxie) and Laura Tyrer (as Velma).