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 send 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”.
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 play 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. This classic show returns to London regularly, so (we hope) it won’t be long before a new production of the musical hits the West End soon.
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".