Chicago the musical, one of theater's favorites, returns to the stage in Indianapolis at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.
Deb Wims portrays Roxie Hart, the dreamer willing to do anything (including murder) to reach star status. Wims' energy and sassy attitude push her normally lovely dance and vocal talents to an even higher level. Breaking away from the usual good-girl roles, Wims' vampish-yet-naive approach to Roxie clawing her way to the top is pure gold as shown in "Roxie."
From the moment Curt Dale Clark glides into view, he takes center stage as that charming, albeit conniving, attorney Billy Flynn. There is something deliciously sly and altogether captivating about Clark's version of the superficial and silky smooth lawyer who wins all of his court cases with a smile, bribes and his powers of persuasion with the media. And of course, a little.. make that a lot... of "Razzle Dazzle," one of Clark's best numbers of the night as a duet with Wims.
Showing off his skills of puppetry persuasion with the press, court of law members and clients, Clark, Wims and company bring down the house with "We Both Reached for the Gun."
Marisa Rivera brings a slightly softer side to the role of double-murderer Velma Kelly showcasing her vocals and dance skills best in "All That Jazz" and end-of show duet with Wims, "Nowadays."
Alene Robertson as Matron "Mama" Morton draws laughs while Eddie Curry draws empathy from the audience as sap-husband Amos Hart.
Sally Scharbrough, as Liz, lights the stage, sizzling in Chicago once again. Last seen in Actor's Theatre of Indiana's version last season, (review here) Scharbrough stands out again in B&B's production.
You either grow weary of Chicago seemingly every season on some stage in the city or you rush to see the latest take on the Bob Fosse-classic satire of the seedy side of the jazz and post-prohibition era in the Windy City. Either way, this Marc Robin directed ~ Buddy Reeder choreographed combo is one you will add to that glad-I-saw list.
Bottom Line: I will keep this succinct: "Chicago...the Musical" is, by far, one of my all-time favorite Beef and Boards' productions in the six + seasons I have reviewed.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.