Chicago: the Musical is a musical made by John Kander and Fred Ebb (songs) with Bob Fosse (book, choreography, and original director) in 1975, and was revived in 1996 in Broadway.

The show is about two women in 1920's Chicago who became famous for being murderers, and them competing for the attention of the media and their lawyer.

Actresses who made this show famous were Chita Rivera, Bebe Neuwirth, Ute Lemper, Ruthie Henshall, and Sandy Duncan.

This show was a big winner in The Tony Awards of 1997. It has won awards for best musical revival, best actor in a musical (James Naughton), best actress in a musical (Bebe Neuwirth), best choreography (Ann Reinking), best director in a musical (Walter Bobbie), and best lighting design (Ken Billington).

Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville (commonly known as Chicago) opened on Broadway on June 3, 1975, it had the misfortune of debuting opposite the musical blockbuster: A Chorus Line. Gwen Verdon (Fosse's ex-wife but with Sweet Charity and Damn Yankees behind her, a Broadway star) starred as Roxie Hart. When surgery demanded she leave the cast temporarily, Liza Minelli stepped into the role. Verdon returned, and when she left the cast for good, and Ann Reinking took over. Chita Rivera created the role of Velma Kelly.

The original production ran for over two years on Broadway, with 898 performances. The show earned eleven Tony Award nominations but lost in every category as A Chorus Line swept the awards. It is thus remembered as a failure, perhaps because its smart cynicism didn't play as well in the mid-1970s as did A Chorus Line's sentimentality.

Kander, Ebb, and Fosse based the musical on a 1926 play of the same title, a modest Broadway hit authored by Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins. Covering the criminal courts gave her material for her play (Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner were on trial for killing their respective boyfriends), a 1927 film adaptation, and the 1942 Ginger Rogers film Roxie Hart. The show has earned over US $100 million dollars on Broadway, plus receipts from the London, Las Vegas, Holland, Berlin, Sweden, Australia and U.S. touring productions bringing the gross to US $334 million.

Sources:
<http://www.broadwayseries.com/backstage/chicagosback/> 22 September 2000.
Gillespie, Evan. "Sensational." Whatzup. 13 April 2000. <http://www.whatzup.com/Archives/cover041300.html> (22 September 2000)

Remember when Broadway was Broadway?

Expanding on tregoweth's definition, Chicago is a Broadway musical themed with "greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, murder, adultery, and treachery."

The story takes place in (you guessed it) Chicago, Illinois, during the 1920s. These are times of hot jazz and cold-blooded killers. After the overture, the audience is introduced to Velma Kelly, who shot the other half of her sister act when she caught her husband with her sister.

Later, the character of Roxie Hart, who murders a nightclub regular by the name of Fred Casely. When her husband Amos finds out, she claims that he was a thief, and he takes the blame. Unfortunantly, the police tells Amos about her intimate affair, and he leaves her to fight for herself. She then goes to jail. Velma happens to be in the prison, too, and doesn't appreciate the attention Roxie draws to herself.

Meanwhile, Roxie finds a lawyer (Billy Flynn). He virtually speaks for Roxie, and makes up the "real story" as a he goes along. Roxie's trial soon becomes the talk of the town, but is sooner replaced by the latest crime of passion. Roxie then plans to get on the front page again by announcing pregnancy.

As promised, Billy gets Roxie her acquittal, but she's soon left in the dust when her news has passed. At the end, she teams up with Verna to become the other half of her old sister act.

Soundtrack: (Soon to be Noded)

  1. Overture
  2. All That Jazz
  3. Funny Honey
  4. Cell Block Tango
  5. When You're Good To Mama
  6. All I Care About
  7. A Little Bit of Good
  8. We Both Reached For The Gun
  9. Roxie
  10. I Can't Do It All Alone
  11. My Own Best Friend
  12. Me and My Baby
  13. Mr. Cellophane
  14. When Velma Takes The Stand
  15. Razzle Dazzle
  16. Class
  17. Nowadays
  18. All That Jazz Reprise

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