Chicago – a Good Destination

A review of 'Chicago' at Tulane Summer Lyric

Saturday July 14, 07
by Tricia Danflous,

Dancing and choreography – great!

Costumes – sparkly, skimpy and sensational.

Music – a toe-tapping, auditory treat.

Set – flexible, transitional and not distracting.

Singing – delightful and sometimes powerful.

Acting – well done by all.

Directing – seamless, smooth and good casting.

It’s high marks on the scorecard for Chicago, Tulane Summer Lyric’s second production of the 2007 season. Directed and choreographed by Diane Lala and artistic direction by Michael Howard, it’s no surprise the show is entertaining, well-executed and crowd pleasing. It’s rare, rare, rare for a Summer Lyric offering to disappoint – just try to get a ticket at the last minute for any performance!

It’s tough to write a review or even a few comments, about the Fred Ebb, John Kander and Bob Fosse musical collaboration when you’ve made up your mind you never want to see the show again. There’s the dilemma – the show was excellent, no complaints on any level, but doesn’t it seem like Chicago has been done a little too much? While the movie version may have contributed to a resurgence of the movie musical or even inspired a new generation to check out a stage show, I’m tired, tired, tired of the story.

Nevertheless, you can’t go wrong with some of those hot Chicago numbers and Summer Lyric did them just fine. Leslie Castay as Velma Kelly and Liz Argus as Roxie Hart played their leading roles to the max and vigorous applause. James C. Martin’s operatic background and powerful voice deeply enriched “All I Care About” and “Razzle Dazzle,” numbers that not only display his talents, but also showcased an outstanding ensemble.

Ricky Graham as Amos Hart! Yes, the best bits in the show come from Graham whose straight-faced delivery and stooped shouldered shuffling on and off stage really have you feeling for the cuckold and naïve husband. His rendition of “Mr. Cellophane,” reinforces the appeal of the number.

I am not going to see another production of Chicago, under any circumstances, for a very long time. But you know I find that I’m singing a few of those songs to myself right now … I may reconsider. If Summer Lyric brings it back in a few years, I’ll be there. 

Back Row Facts

Length of Play – two hours and 40 minutes

Lewdity and Language – murder, adultery, prison, celebrity lawyers; expect salty language throughout the show.

Family Fitness – a fun show to watch for all ages over adolescence.

It’s a puzzlement! Was it costumes, wig, or stage presence? Liz Argus as Roxie reminded me of Lucille Ball from time to time.