Musical by Kander and Ebb. "Welcome. Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery - all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts. Thank you."... So begins Chicago The Musical, and the show's creators John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse never back off from their bold and sinister promise. The kiss-and-tell tale of Roxie Hart, a nightclub dancer who kills her lover; Velma Kelly the glamorous double-murderess vying to keep her press supremacy; and Billy Flynn, the slick lawyer who has the power to keep them from death row, and make them in to stars.
Musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, based on the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
This musical was made into a film in 2002 starring Renee Zellweger as 'Roxie Hart', Catherine Zeta-Jones as 'Velma Kelly', John C Reilly as 'Amos Hart', Richard Gere as 'Billy Flynn', Queen Latifah as 'Matron 'Mama' Morton', and Christine Baranski as 'Mary Sunshine'. Chita Rivera, who originated the role of 'Velma Kelly' in the Broadway stage premiere in 1975, made a cameo in the film as 'Nicky'. The musical was adapted for the screen by Bill Condon, and directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.
The London Premiere of Maurine Dallas Watkins' play Chicago took place on Wednesday 13 March 1935 at the Gate Theatre Studio (now demolished) when the cast included Molly Johnson as 'Roxie Hart', Margaret Webster as 'Velma', Louis Darnley as 'Amos Hart', Arthur Young as 'Billy Flynn', and Enid Lindsay as 'Mrs Morton'. The cast was notable for including the actor Vincent Price in the roles of 'The Judge/Charles Murdock', in one of his earliest stage credits. The production, which played for a short season, was directed by Norman Marshall, with designs by Hedley Briggs. The Gate Theatre Studio was a private members club located at 16a Villiers Street, in the arches under Charing Cross Railway Station. It was demolished in the 1980s the station was extensively remodelled.
SPOILER WARNING: You may wish to avoid reading the 'secondary' cast lists below... In the stage musical version - but NOT in either the original play or the 2002 film version - there is a small plot device where, during Roxie Hart's trial when the lawyer Billy Flynn is pleading her innocence, he tells the jury that "things are not always what they appear to be..." at which point he reveals that Mary Sunshine, the 'sob-sister' journalist who has been writing about the case, is actually a man. To maintain the surprise and disguise this fact, theatre cast lists usually list the actor playing Mary Sunshine using just the initial of his first name along with his surname, with the programme headshot showing the actor dressed in character as Mary Sunshine. The cast lists below give the full name of the actors playing the role.
Original West End London Production - 1979 to 1980
Previewed 30 March 1979, Opened 10 April 1979, Closed 20 September 1980 at the Cambridge Theatre
The original cast featured Antonia Ellis as 'Roxie Hart', Jenny Logan as 'Velma Kelly', Don Fellows as 'Amos Hart', Ben Cross as 'Billy Flynn', and Hope Jackman as 'Wardress (Mama) Morton', with Buster Skeggs as 'Razzle Dazzle Doll', Colin Bennett as 'State Medical Examiner'/'Aaron', Dawn Hope as 'Reporter'/'Spice', Ellie Smith as 'Razzle Dazzle Trixie', Erick Ray Evans as 'Harry'/'Judge'/'M.C.'/'Sergeant Fogarty', Gary Lyons as 'Mary Sunshine', Jacquie Toye as 'Liz', Jenny McGusty as 'Razzle Dazzle Dixie', Kenn Oldfield as 'Jury'/'Tailor', Linda Dobell as 'Go-to-Hell Kitty', Liz Whiting as 'Annie', Mark Jefferis as 'Clerk of the Court'/'Warder One', Martin Baker as 'Martin Harrison, the D.A'/'Warder Two', Okon Jones as 'Policeman', Philippa Boulter as 'Katerina'/'Sugar', Rachel Izen as 'June', Richard Fox as 'Fred Casely', and Tracie Hart as 'Mona'.
Directed by Peter James, with choreography by Gillian Gregory, sets by Roger Glossop, costumes by Anne Sinclair, and lighting by Peter Barham.
The role of 'Roxie Hart' was played by Antonio Ellis from Friday 30 March 1979 to Saturday 12 January 1980; and Elizabeth Seal from Monday 14 January 1980 to Saturday 20 September 1980.
The role of 'Velma Kelly' was played by Jenny Logan from Friday 30 March 1979 to Saturday 12 April 1980; and Jacquie Toye from Monday 14 April 1980 to Saturday 20 September 1980.
The role of 'Amos Hart' was played by Don Fellows from Friday 30 March 1979 to Saturday 26 April 1980; and Brian Hewlett from Monday 28 April 1980 to Saturday 20 September 1980.
The role of 'Billy Flynn' was played by Ben Cross from Friday 30 March 1979 to Saturday 12 January 1980; and Colin Bennett from Monday 14 Janury 1980 to Saturday 20 September 1980.
The role of 'Mama Morton' was played by Dawn Hope for the entire run
Prior to London's West End, this production was presented at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield for a three week season from Friday 24 November 1978 to Saturday 16 December 1978 with the same lead cast.
Kander and Ebb's musical Chicago opened on Broadway in 1975, when the London theatre impresario Harold Fielding took an option on producing it in the West End which utimately he decided not to take up. Once his option had expired the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield applied to produce the musical themselves in 1978 and this was excepted by the original New York producers. Once presented in Sheffield, the London theatre producers Larry Parnes and Ray Cooney joined with the Crucible Theatre to transfer it to the West End's Cambridge Theatre in early 1979.
Although closing notices where posted for Saturday 5 July 1980, due to last minute backstage negotiations, when an immediate £5,000 cash grant was provided to the production by the Theatre Emergency Fund (see below), the musical was able to run for a futher 11-weeks, up to 20 September 1980.
There was a special charity 'Midnight Matinee' performance of Chicago on Tuesday 2 September 1980 at 11.00pm to raise money for the Theatre Emergency Fund (see below).
During the late 1970s and early 1980s the UK was in a financial recession which adversely effected theatre attendance. In early June 1980 the producers of Chicago told the media that, although audiences where averaging around 50%, because of deep discounting, the actual box-office financial take was actually only around 25%, which was far lower than what was sustainable for such a large musical show. As both the cast and crew of the production where afraid of losing their jobs at this difficult time they agreed, just prior to the 'last' performance on Saturday 5 July 1980, that they would sign new contracts, effective from Wednesday 9 July 1980, with a pay-cut of around 8% for 11-weeks, with the goal of returning to the original contracts (and original pay) if audiences had improved at the end of the 11-weeks. By Sunday 6 July the actor's union, Equity, had stepped in to block the pay-cut as it was against union guidelines. Instead Equity was able to arrange for the small independent charity, the Theatre Emergency Fund, to provide an immediate cash grant of £5,000 on the understanding that the show producers guaranteed a run of a further 11-weeks, up to 20 September 1980, for the nearly 100-members of the show's company comprising actors, musicans, backstage, and front-of-house staff. There where no performances on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 July 1980.
The Theatre Emergency Fund was a small independent charity that was established in 1978 with the sole criteria of providing immediate small cash grants, without red-tape, to theatres that would save jobs. The aim was not to just delay a show or theatre from closing, but rather to provide some small financial help to overcome a temporary drop in business, and thus safeguard jobs.
1st West End London Revival - 1997 to 2012
Previewed 28 October 1997, Opened 18 November 1997, Closed 22 April 2006 at the Adelphi Theatre
Transferred 28 April 2006, Closed 27 August 2011 at the Cambridge Theatre
Transferred 7 November 2011, Closed 1 September 2012 at the Garrick Theatre
A major revival of Kander and Ebb's Chicago the Musical in London
Directed by Walter Bobbie, this production was based on the May 1996 presentation at New York's City Center's Encores.
After a run of over eight years, the production first transferred to the nearby Cambridge Theatre, before finally transferring to the Garrick Theatre where it finally closed in September 2012 after a combined West End run of just under 15 years - the longest running American musical ever to play in London's West End!
The original cast featured Ruthie Henshall as 'Roxie Hart', Ute Lemper as 'Velma Kelly', Nigel Planer as 'Amos Hart', Henry Goodman as 'Billy Flynn', and Meg Johnson as 'Matron ‘Mama’ Morton', with Cat Lawrence as 'Liz', Cavin Cornwall as 'Doctor'/'Sergeant Fogarty', Charles Shirvell as 'Mary Sunshine', Daniel Crossley as 'Bailiff'/'Court Clerk', Graeme Conway as 'The Jury', Jacqui Boatswain as 'June', Jacqui Jameson as 'Mona', Lisa Stevens as 'Annie', Mark Vincent as 'Harry'/'The Judge', Michelle Hodgson as 'Hunyak', Rohan Senior as 'Fred Casely', Stuart MacDonald as 'Aaron', Thom Graham as 'Martin Harrison', Vanessa Leagh-Hicks as 'Go-To-Hell Kitty', Adrian Goodfellow, Alistair David, Edwina Cox, Heather Douglas, and Robbie O’Reilly.
Directed by Walter Bobbie, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, sets by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington, and sound by Rick Clarke.
The role of 'Roxie Hart' was play by Ruthie Henshall from Monday 27 October 1997 to Saturday 14 November 1998; Maria Friedman from Monday 16 November 1998 to Saturday 12 June 1999; Frederike Hass from Monday 14 June 1999 to Saturday 14 August 1999; Chita Riveria from Monday 16 August 1999 to Saturday 9 October 1999; Maria Friedman from Monday 11 October 1999 to Saturday 12 February 2000; Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 14 February 2000 to Saturday 12 August 2000; Petra Nielsen from Monday 14 Aug 2000 to Saturday 13 January 2001; Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 15 January 2001 to Monday 16 April 2001; Denise Van Outen from Tuesday 17 April 2001 to Saturday 15 September 2001; Anita Louise Combe from Monday 17 September 2001 to Saturday 1 December 2001; Claire Sweeney from Monday 3 December 2001 to Saturday 16 March 2002; Anita Louise Combe from Monday 18 March 2002 to Saturday 27 April 2002; Denise Van Outen from Monday 29 April 2002 to Saturday 1 June 2002; Anita Louise Combe from Monday 3 June 2002 to Saturday 16 November 2002; Linzi Hateley from Monday 18 November 2002 to Saturday 6 September 2003; Frances Ruffelle from Monday 8 September 2003 to Saturday 19 June 2004; Rebecca Thornhill from Monday 21 June 2004 to Saturday 18 September 2004; Jennifer Ellison from Monday 20 September 2004 to Saturday 11 December 2004; Rebecca Dent on Thursday 25 November 2004 only (Musicality see below); Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 13 December 2004 to Saturday 29 January 2005; Jill Halfpenny from Monday 31 January 2005 to Saturday 9 April 2005; Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 11 to Tuesday 26 April 2005; Brooke Shields from Wednesday 27 April 2005 to Saturday 30 July 2005 (except for Tuesday 3 to Friday 13 May 2005 when Josefina Gabrielle played the role); Frances Ruffelle from Monday 1 August 2005 to Saturday 10 September 2005; Sally Ann Triplett from Monday 12 September 2005 to Saturday 28 January 2006; Linzi Hateley from Monday 30 January 2006 to Monday 17 April 2006; Bonnie Langford from Tuesday 18 April 2006 to Saturday 8 July 2006; Jennifer Ellison from Monday 10 July 2006 to Saturday 12 August 2006; Linzi Hateley from Monday 14 August 2006 to Saturday 23 September 2006; Ashlee Simpson from Monday 25 September 2006 to Saturday 28 October 2006; Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 30 October 2006 to Saturday 16 December 2006; Aoife Mulholland from Monday 18 December 2006 to Saturday 31 March 2007; Tina Arena from Monday 2 April 2007 to Saturday 5 May 2007; Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 7 May 2007 to Saturday 13 October 2007; Sarah Soetaert from Monday 15 October 2007 to Saturday 3 November 2007; Frances Ruffelle from Monday 5 November 2007 to Saturday 8 December 2007; Bonnie Langford from Monday 10 December 2007 to Saturday 23 February 2008; Birgitte Hjort Sørensen from Monday 25 February 2008 to Saturday 31 May 2008; Suzanne Shaw from Monday 2 June 2008 to Saturday 9 August 2008; Sarah Soetaert from Monday 11 August 2008 to Saturday 30 August 2008; Kelly Price from Monday 1 September 2008 to Saturday 25 October 2008; Aoife Mulholland from Monday 27 October 2008 to Saturday 11 July 2009; Michelle Williams from Monday 13 July 2009 to Saturday 12 September 2009; Linzi Hateley from Monday 14 September 2009 to Saturday 24 October 2009; Emma Clifford from Monday 26 October 2009 to Saturday 12 December 2009; Ruthie Henshall from Monday 14 December 2009 to Saturday 24 April 2010 (except from Monday 28 December 2009 to Saturday 2 January when Bonnie Langford played the role); Emma Barton from Monday 26 April 2010 to Saturday 23 October 2010; Sarah Soetaert from Monday 25 October 2010 to Tuesday 12 July 2011; Christie Brinkley from Wednesday 13 July 2011 to Saturday 27 August 2011; America Ferrera from Monday 7 November 2011 to Saturday 31 December 2011; and Sarah Soetaert from Monday 2 January 2012 to Saturday 1 September 2012. All dates excluding holidays and illness etc.
The role of 'Velma Kelly' was played by Ute Lemper from Monday 27 October 1997 to Saturday 11 July 1998; Nicola Hughes from Monday 13 July 1998 to Saturday 15 May 1999; Anna Montanova from Monday 17 May 1999 to Saturday 14 August 1999; Valerie Pettiford from Monday 16 August 1999 to Saturday 12 February 2000; Anna Jane Casey from Monday 14 February 2000 to Saturday 12 August 2000; Annette McLaughlin from Monday 14 August 2000 to Monday 16 April 2001; Leigh Zimmerman from Tuesday 17 April 2001 to Saturday 16 March 2002; Anna Jane Casey from Monday 18 March 2002 to Saturday 16 November 2002; Tiffany Graves from Monday 18 November 2002 to Saturday 14 June 2003; Ruthie Henshall from Monday 16 June 2003 to Saturday 1 November 2003; Tiffany Graves from Monday 3 November 2003 to Saturday 20 March 2004; Pia Douwes from Monday 22 March 2004 to Saturday 3 April 2004; Tiffany Graves from Monday 5 April 2004 to Saturday 26 June 2004; Anita Louise Combe from Monday 28 June 2004 to Saturday 25 September 2004; Anna-Jane Casey from Monday 27 September 2004 to Saturday 26 February 2005; Caroline Graham on Thursday 25 November 2004 only (Musicality see below); Anna Montanaro from Monday 28 February 2005 to Saturday 7 May 2005; Charley Izabella King from Monday 9 May 2005 to Monday 29 August 2005; Rachel Stanley from Tuesday 30 August to Saturday 24 September 2005; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 26 September 2005 to Saturday 7 January 2006; Kay Murphy from Monday 9 January 2006 to Saturday 14 January 2006; Vanessa Leagh-Hicks from Monday 16 January 2006 to Saturday 28 January 2006; Debbie Kurup from Monday 30 January 2006 to Monday 17 April 2006; Amra-Faye Wright from Tuesday 18 April 2006 to Saturday 28 October 2006; Lisa Donmall from Monday 20 November 2006 to Saturday 9 December 2006; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 11 December 2006 to Saturday 16 December 2006; Annette McLaughlin from Monday 18 December 2006 to Saturday 5 May 2007; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 7 May 2007 to Saturday 30 June 2007; Annette McLaughlin from Monday 2 July 2007 to Saturday 3 November 2007; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 5 November 2007 to Saturday 23 February 2008; Rachel McDowall from Monday 25 February 2008 to Saturday 31 May 2008; Anna Jane Casey from Monday 2 June 2008 to Saturday 29 November 2008; Tiffany Graves from Monday 1 December 2008 to Saturday 14 February 2009; Rachel McDowall from Monday 16 February 2009 to Saturday 30 May 2009; Leigh Zimmerman from Monday 1 June 2009 to Saturday 11 July 2009; Tiffany Graves from Monday 13 July 2009 to Saturday 12 September 2009; Pia Douwes from Monday 14 September 2009 to Saturday 24 October 2009; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 26 October 2009 to Saturday 12 December 2009; Terra C MacLeod from Monday 14 December 2009 to Saturday 13 February 2010; Anna Jane Casey from Monday 15 February 2010 to Saturday 24 April 2010; Vivien Carter from Monday 26 April 2010 to Saturday 4 December 2010; Lisa Donmall from Monday 6 December 2010 to Saturday 7 May 2011; Debbie Kurup from Monday 9 May 2011 to Saturday 25 June 2011; Amra-Faye Wright from Monday 27 June 2011 to Saturday 31 December 2011; and Rachel McDowall from Monday 2 January 2012 to Saturday 1 September 2012. All dates excluding holidays and illness etc.
Some of the actors who played the role of 'Amos Hart' included Nigel Planer from Monday 27 Oct 1997 to Saturday 15 August 1998, and from Monday 5 June 2000 to Saturday 9 July 2000; Joel Gray from Monday 17 August 1998 to Saturday 14 November 1998; Peter Davidson from Monday 16 November 1998 to Saturday 15 May 1999, Monday 15 November 1999 to Saturday 11 December 1999; Norman Pace from Monday 9 August 1999 to 13 November 1999, Monday 13 December 1999 to Saturday 12 February 2000, and Monday 24 March 2003 to Saturday 6 September 2003; Les Dennis from Monday 14 February 2000 to Saturday 3 June 2000; Clive Rowe from Monday 15 January 2001 to Saturday 10 March 2001, Monday 21 January 2002 to Saturday 20 July 2002, and Monday 10 September 2007 to Saturday 3 November 2007; Barry James from Monday 19 March 2001 to Saturday 6 October 2001; and Kevin Kennedy from Monday 2 February 2004 to Saturday 15 May 2004. Other actors to play the role included Paul Rider 2001 to 2008; David Birrell 2002 to 2003; Paul Baker 2003 to 2004; Paul Leonard 2004; Robert Hands 2005; Victor McGuire 2005 to 2011; Julian Sims 2006 to 2007; Matthew Lloyd Davies 2007; James Doherty 2011 and 2012; and Tony Timberlake 2012.
Some of the actors who played the role of 'Billy Flynn' included Henry Goodman from Monday 27 October 1997 to Saturday 23 May 1998; Clarke Peters from Monday 25 May 1998 to Saturday 30 January 1999, Monday 14 August 2000 to Saturday 16 September 2000, Monday 16 April 2001 to Saturday 12 May 2001, and Monday 23 May 2005 to Saturday 27 August 2005; Michael Siberry from Monday 16 August 1999 to Saturday 13 November 1999; John Diedrich from Monday 15 November 1999 to Saturday 12 August 2000; Sacha Distel from Monday 18 September 2000 to Saturday 17 March 2001; James Gaddas from Monday 14 May 2001 to Saturday 2 June 2001; Michael Simkins from Monday 4 June 2001 to Saturday 24 November 2001, Monday 16 April 2007 to Monday 28 May 2007, and Monday 29 October 207 to Saturday 3 November 2007; Neil McCaul from Monday 26 November 2001 to Saturday 8 June 2002; Marti Pellow from Monday 10 June 2002 to Saturday 16 November 2002, and Monday 3 May 2004 to Saturday 19 June 2004; Michael Greco from Monday 18 November 2002 to Saturday 22 March 2003; Rolf Saxon from Monday 24 March 2003 to Saturday 20 September 2003; Kevin Richardson from Monday 22 September 2003 to Saturday 1 November 2003; Alex Bourne from Monday 3 November 2003 to Saturday 1 May 2004; Cavin Cornwall as ‘Billy Flynn’ from Monday 21 June 2004 to Saturday 17 July 2004; David Hasselhoff from Monday 19 July 2004 to Saturday 18 September 2004; John Barrowman from Monday 20 September 2004 to Saturday 11 December 2004; Matthew Goodgame on Thursday 25 November 2004 (Musicality see below), and Tuesday 30 August to Saturday 3 September 2005; Michael French from Monday 13 December 2004 to Tuesday 26 April 2005 (see note below); Darius Campbell (AKA Darius Danesh) from Monday 21 November 2005 to Saturday 11 February 2006, Monday 19 June 2006 to Saturday 8 July 2006, and Saturday 7 November 2011 to Saturday 24 December 2011; Luca Barbareschi from Tuesday 18 April 2006 to Saturday 17 June 2006; Tony Hadley from Monday 29 January 2007 to Saturday 14 April 2007; Maxwell Caulfield from Tuesday 29 May 2007 to Saturday 30 June 2007; Duncan James from Monday 2 July 2007 to Saturday 8 September 2007, and Monday 10 December 2007 to Saturday 9 February 2008; Jerry Springer from Monday 1 June 2009 to Saturday 11 July 2009; David Bedella from Monday 28 February 2011 to Saturday 7 May 2011, and Tuesday 10 April 2012 to Saturday 12 May 2012; Jonathan Wilkes from Monday 9 May 2011 to Saturday 27 August 2011; Raza Jaffrey from Wednesday 16 May 2012 to Saturday 14 July 2012; and Robin Cousins from Tuesday 17 July 2012 to Saturday 8 September 2012. In addition Terence Maynard played the role for multiple season from 2005 through to 2012, as did Ian Kelsey from 2006 through to 2010.
NOTE: It was reported at the time that Michael French, who was already playing the role of 'Billy Flynn' in the evenings, had clashed with his new co-star Brooke Shields during daytime rehearsals in April 2005 in preparation for her taking over the role of 'Roxie Hart' from Wednesday 27 April 2005. Michael French left the production on 27 April, and Brooke Shields therefore made her West End stage debut opposite the understudy Simon Breen. French's agent said: "He wanted to pursue other things. He has been in the show for a while and felt it was time to do something else. There was no clash with Brooke Shields." Clarke Peters stepped in the role of 'Billy Flynn' a couple of weeks later.
Some of the actresses who played the role of 'Matron ‘Mama’ Morton' included Meg Johnson from Monday 27 October 1997 to Saturday 14 November 1999; Diane Langton from Monday 16 November 1998 to Saturday 13 November 1999; Alison Moyet from Monday 13 August 2001 to Saturday 16 March 2002; Gaby Roslin from 18 November 2002 to Saturday 22 March 2003, and Monday 1 December 2003 to Saturday 24 January 2004; Anita Dobson from Monday 8 September 2003 to Saturday 29 November 2003; Sharon D Clarke from Monday 20 September 2004 to Saturday 4 December 2004; Lynda Carter from Monday 26 September 2005 to Saturday 18 November 2005; and Kelly Osbourne from Monday 10 September 2007 to Saturday 3 November 2007. Other actoresses to play the role included Sue Kelvin 1999 to 2008; Susannah Fellows 2001; Jasna Ivir 2001 to 2012; Chrissie Hammond 2002 to 2006; Zee Asha 2003 to 2008; Donna Hazelton 2004 (Musicality see below) and 2005; Brenda Edwards 2006 to 2009; Susie McKenna 2007; Gina Murray 2008; and Claudia Shear 2008.
Musicality: Thursday 25 November 2004 This Thursday evening performance at the Adelphi Theatre featured five special amateur guest stars that where selected out of more than 20,000 applications to the Channel 4 television reality/talent series Musicality. The five performers selected where Rebecca Dent as 'Roxie Hart', Caroline Graham as 'Velma Kelly', Matthew Goodgame as 'Billy Flynn', Donna Hazelton as 'Matron 'Mama' Morton', and Warren Sollars as 'Featured Ensemble'.
The five-part series was broadcast on Channel 4 for an hour each Wednesday at 9.00pm from 3 November through to 1 December - the last episode was extended to 90 minutes and featured highlights from the live theatre performance. The 20,000 applicants where initially whittled down to just 26 by the the four-member panel that featured the vocal coach Mary King, the choreographer Stacey Haynes, the West End musical director of Chicago Gareth Valentine, the musical theatre director Clive Paget. The actress Julia McKenzie then joined to help the panel choose the final five.
Following the television series, Donna Hazelton was invited back to Chicago where she played 'Matron 'Mama' Morton' as a regular cast member from Monday 31 January 2005 through to Saturday 26 February 2005; Matthew Goodgame was also invited back to Chicago to reprise his role of 'Billy Flynn' from Tuesday 30 August to 3 September 2005, his other West End credits include the roles of 'Kenicke' and 'Danny' in Grease the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2010/11, featured ensemble in Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre in 2016, and 'Pat Denning' in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2018; Warren Sollars played the role of 'Pepper' in Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Novello Theatre in 2011/12, 'Gregory' in Kiss Me Kate at the Old Vic Theatre in 2012, and was in the ensemble in From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2014.
10th Anniversary Celebration: Wednesday 5 December 2007 A special charity 'mash-up' performance, featuring the regular cast, along with former cast members returning as 'special guest stars' to perform the actual songs during the production. A number of the original ensemble also returned for this special performance that started at 6.30pm, and was followed by a black-tie event at the Sound Nightclub, 1 Leicester Square (now rebuilt as Hotel Indigo London). The event was held in aid of Breast Cancer Haven and the Breast Health Institute.
The 'regular cast' featured Frances Ruffelle as 'Roxie Hart', Amra Faye-Wright as 'Velma Kelly', Terence Maynard as 'Billy Flynn', Paul Rider as 'Amos Hart', and Sue Kelvin as 'Matron ‘Mama' Morton'. The special guest stars included Henry Goodman (Introduction), Ute Lemper (All That Jazz), Denise Van Outen and Aoife Mulholland (Funny Honey), Brenda Edwards (When You're Good To Mama), Duncan James (All I Care About), Charles Shirvell, Morgan Crowley and Carl Mullaney (A Little Bit of Good), Bonnie Langford and Tony Hadley (We Both Reached For The Gun), Ruthie Henshall (Roxie), Annette McLaughlin and Frances Ruffelle (I Can't Do It Alone), Linzi Hateley and Pia Douwes (My Own Best Friend), Anita Louise Combe (I Know A Girl), Josefina Gabrielle (Me & My Baby), Nigel Planer with Matthew Lloyd James, Paul Baker, Paul Iveson, Paul Leonard, and Paul Rider (Mr. Cellophane), Caroline O'Connor (When Velma Takes The Stand), Darius Danesh (AKA Darius Campbell) and Ian Kensley (Razzle Dazzle), Kelly Osbourne and Anna Jane-Casey (Class), Claire Sweeney, Charles Shirvell, Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper (Nowadays), with the Roxie and Velma's returning for Hot Honey Rag and Finale. The original ensemble/swings who returned included Adrian Goodfellow, Cavin Cornwall, Daniel Crossley, Graeme Conway, Jacqui Boatswain, Jacqui Jameson, Mark Vincent, Michelle Hodgson, Robbie O'Reilly, Stuart MacDonald, and Vanessa Leagh-Hicks.
Justin Lee Collins: Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December 2008 Three performances, on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon matinee and evening, that featured television and radio presenter and comedian Justin Lee Collins in the role of 'Amos Hart'. Both the rehearsals and the actual theatre performances where filmed for television and broadcast on Thursday 20 August 2009 as one part of a six-part Justin Lee Collins Is... series on the satellite television station Sky 1.
The six one-hour episodes consisted of JLS is The Wrestler (1/6) 9.00pm Thursday 13 August 2009; JLS is The West End Star (2/6) 9.00pm Thursday 20 August 2009; JLS is The High Diver (3/6) 10.00pm Thursday 27 August 2009; JLS is The Ballroom Dancer (4/6) 10.00pm Thursday 3 September 2009; JLS is The Surfer (5/6) 10.00pm Thursday 10 September 2009; and JLS is The Ten Pin Bowler (6/6) 10.00pm Thursday 17 September 2009.
"This ravishing song and dance comedy about two young American women in 1929 getting away with murder, thanks to a lawyer so bent he can barely look anyone straight in the eye, is 22 years old. But how freshly its authors, John Kander and Fred Ebb capture a mood of Nineties cynicism about the way the world works - or doesn't. How timely its witty view of the American legal system as 'just the serious side of show business', with murder marketed as entertainment... Walter Bobbie's delectable production, all stylised elegance and energy, does not bother with the usual sumptuous clutter and computerised wonders of modern musicals. He has no need of such distractions. The terrific band is situated centre-stage in a tiered jury box. Beyond them lie bare, murky spaces, lit by spotlights which convey the prison and court-room worlds... Again and again Kander's terrific songs take up the catchy old period forms of tango, rag and tap, with characters who hypocritically lay claim to the traditional musical's love of nostalgia, sentiment and kindness." The London Evening Standard
"Twenty years after its premiere, this little dark jewel of a musical by the Cabaret team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, was reworked and streamlined on Broadway in this ideal concert format... In a most uncanny way, this relaunched Chicago expresses the contemporary disaffection with justice as a three-ring circus, guilt as a mark of celebrity, and the easy approval we all give to people who've made it by getting away with murder. For all that jazz, the show works in a visceral, seductive way, number by great number: the tango for the sexy murderesses; the brilliant ventriloquist song for Billy Flynn with Roxie on his knee; the duet for Velma and the bulldog matron lamenting the death of true class. Girls in black fishnets, silk and satin, thrust their pelvic gyrations in the face of respectability and contemptible men, those dirty rats. We can take it. For the girls, the show also says, can only survive by killing us (not always) softly with their love." The Daily Mail
"Give 'em the old razzle dazzle, advises lawyer Billy Flynn, and they'll make you a star. And that's exactly how the scintillating cast of Chicago have gone about ensuring this revival instantly becomes the hottest ticket in town... Mix in a dynamic chorus line and a 14-piece band to die for, deserting the pit for centre stage, and you have, to misquote another song from the score, a revival that's as close to musical theatre heaven as you are likely to get nowadays. Written in 1975 by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb - he also co-wrote the script with the late, great Bob Fosse - the show has been re-choreographed 'in the style of Fosse' by Ann Reinking, and is played in black and white with no costume changes or set, but with spine-tingling energy. All credit to director Walter Bobbie, Ms Reinking and the largely British cast for splendidly transporting this most American of musicals into the West End." The News of the World
The musical Chicago in London at the Adelphi Theatre previewed from 28 October 1997, opened on 18 November 1997, and closed on 22 April 2006, transferred to the Cambridge Theatre from 28 April 2006 to 27 August 2011, transferred to the Garrick Theatre from 7 November 2011 to 1 September 2012
2nd West End London Revival - 2018 to 2019
Previewed 26 March 2018, Opened 11 April 2018, Closed 5 January 2019 at the Phoenix Theatre
It's back! Walter Bobbie's long-running, award-winning revival of the Kander and Ebb musical Chicago in London for a strictly limited season!
The return to London's West End of the acclaimed 1998 revival... the West End's longest running American musical!
The original April 2018 cast featured Sarah Soetaert as 'Roxie Hart', Josefina Gabrielle as 'Velma Kelly', Paul Rider as 'Amos Hart', Cuba Gooding Jr as 'Billy Flynn', and Ruthie Henshall as 'Matron 'Mamma' Morton', with Abramo Ciullo as 'Doctor'/'The Jury', AD Richardson (AKA Alan Richardson) as 'Mary Sunshine', Callum MacDonald as 'Harry', Charles Ruhrmund as 'Bailiff', Chelsea Labadini as 'Mona', Chris Warner Drake as 'Fred Casely', Emma Harris as 'Hunyak', Frances Dee as 'Liz', Francis Foreman as 'Martin Harrison'/'McVicars Announcer', Matt Krzan as 'Sergeant Fogarty'/'The Judge', Michelle Antrobus as 'Announcer'/'Annie', Natalie Bennyworth as 'June', Nicola Coates as 'Go-To-Hell Kitty', Todd Talbot as 'Aaron', Joanna Rennie, Luke Jarvis, Matthew Wesley, and Zoe Gappy.
Directed by Walter Bobbie (recreated by Tania Nardini) with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse (recreated by Gary Chryst), sets by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington, and sound by Rick Clarke (recreated Matt Grounds).
The role of 'Roxie Hart' was played by Sarah Soetaert from Monday 26 March 2018 to Saturday 11 August 2018; Alexandra Burke from Monday 13 August 2018 to Saturday 13 October 2018; Sarah Soetaert from Monday 15 October 2018 to Saturday 8 December 2018; and Caroline Flack from Monday 10 December 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019.
The role of 'Velma Kelly' was played by Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 26 March 2018 to Saturday 22 September 2018; Laura Tyrer from Monday 24 September 2018 to Saturday 20 October 2018; and Josefina Gabrielle from Monday 22 October 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019. NOTE: Denise van Outen was due to play the role from Monday 24 September 2018 to Saturday 17 November 2018, but a stress fracture was discovered in her heel on the first day of rehearsals forcing her to withdraw from the production. Although it was hoped that she would return later on, this never happened before the show closed.
The role of 'Amos Hart' was played by Paul Rider for the entire run.
The role of 'Billy Flynn' was played by Cuba Gooding Jnr from Monday 26 March 2018 to 30 June 2018; Martin Kemp from Monday 2 July 2018 to Saturday 1 September 2018; Duncan James from Monday 10 September 2018 to Saturday 17 November 2018; and Todrick Hall from Monday 19 November 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019.
The role of 'Matron 'Mama' Morten' was played by Ruthie Henshall from Monday 26 March 2018 to Saturday 30 June 2018; and Mazz Murray from Monday 2 July 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019.
The Big Audition ITV Television: Friday 26 October 2018 This 'fly-on-the-wall' reality documentry series focused on genuine real-life auditions for an assortment of real jobs by professional people. One of the three auditions featured on the fourth episode was for an actress to play the role of 'Velma Kelly' at the Phoenix Theatre from 24 September 2018. Before the auditions shown on TV, the actresses where whittled down to nine actresses. Then, at the television studios, they where shown auditioning in front of Chicago's Casting Director Stephen Crockett; Music Director Ian Townsend; Dance Captain Matthew Wesley; and Resident Director Stacey Haynes. The actress Laura Tyrer won the audition and she played the role of 'Velma Kelly' at London's Phoenix Theatre from Monday 24 September 2018 to Saturday 20 October 2018. One of the other nine actresses was Millie O'Connell who would go on to play the role of 'Anne Boleyn' in the original London cast of the Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss musical Six. Other jobs that where auditioned for during the series included a John Lennon for a Beatles tribute band; a presenter for a crafting TV shopping channel; a hand model; a presenting role for BAFTA kids; and a dog model.
When this production opened at the Phoenix Theatre in April 2018, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard commented that "it's a real pleasure to have the old razzle-dazzle back in town... Every number in the production, based on Walter Bobbie's original New York direction, is vivid and individual." "What a treat," hailed Ann Treneman in the Times, "the revival choreography was originally by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse (who choreographed the original) and the dancing is a wow... Chicago is an ensemble effort and all the major players deliver." Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "I’m all for reviving old musicals, but this one has not been imaginatively rethought... [Bob Fosse] was a highly inventive choreographer but here the dance begins to feel not so much Fosse-ised as ossified... The lead actors all do their stuff, the ensemble is lively and the onstage band is exceptional." Ben Lawrence in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "Walter Bobbie's direction (after the great Bob Fosse) is superb and the leanness of Kander and Ebb's book means that the whole thing rattles along with gusto... This is a show with just the right amount of razzle-dazzle and which knows when to turn down the dial to give its audience more reflective moments, such as in the song Class." Neil Norman in the Daily Express wrote that "Bob Fosse's original choreography, reproduced by Ann Reinking, is performed well with an ensemble of pneumatic, long-limbed girls and buffed boys strutting, preening and generally sexing it up." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail explained how "Bob Fosse's choreography - revamped by Ann Reinking and Gary Chryst - once more storms the stage but is somewhat cramped, with only a few metres available in front of a huge bank of seating for the band. This makes the dancing feel like a hectic frieze... This is a spirited revival, even if it feels like we've been there (and got the g-string)." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times described how, "just over five years after it closed in the West End following a 15-year run, Chicago is back... All those characteristics you know are still present and correct. And yet, somehow, both style and content feel a little less this time around."
The musical Chicago in London at the Phoenix Theatre public previews from 26 March 2018, opens on 11 April 2018 and closed on 5 January 2019