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
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!
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 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.
The original cast at the Adelphi Theatre in 1997 featured Ruthie Henshall as 'Roxie Hart', Ute Lemper as 'Velma Kelly', Henry Goodman as 'Billy Flynn', Nigel Planer as 'Amos Hart', and Meg Johnson as 'Matron Mama Morton'.
The original cast at the Phoenix Theatre in 2018 featured Sarah Soetaert as 'Roxie Hart', Josefina Gabrielle as 'Velma Kelly', Cuba Gooding Jnr. as 'Billy Flynn', Paul Rider as 'Amos Hart', and Ruthie Henshall as 'Mama Morton'.
Walter Bobbie's acclaimed revival was originally seen in London's West End at the Adelphi Theatre where it opened in November 1997 to rave reviews and nightly standing ovations. 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!
Sarah Soetaert's West End credits include playing the role of 'Roxie' in Chicago the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in 2007, returning to the role a numner of times - and becoming the longest running 'Roxie Hart' in the West End.
Josefina Gabrielle has previously played the role of 'Roxie Hart' in Chicago at both the Adelphi and Cambridge theatres. Her other London stage credits include the role of 'Gussie Carnegie' in Merrily We Roll Along at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2013; the role of 'Nickie' in the musical Sweet Charity at the Haymarket Theatre in 2010; the role of 'Irene Molly' in the musical Hello, Dolly! at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, in 2009; the role of 'Alexandra', one of the witches, in the musical Witches of Eastwick at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2001; the role of 'Laurey' in the musical Oklahoma! at the Lyceum Theatre in 1999; and the role of 'Jenna' in The Goodbye Girl at the Albery Theatre in 1997.
Ruthie Henshall originated the role of 'Roxie Hart' in this revival production of Chicago when it originally opened at the Adelphi Theatre in 1997. Her other West End credits include the role of 'Mrs Wilkinson' in Billy Elliot The Musical, based on the movie, at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2014; the role 'Elvira' in Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre in 2011; the title role in Marguerite, based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas, at the Haymarket Theatre in 2008; the role of 'Marian Halcombe' in The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre in 2005; the title role in Peggy Sue Got Married, adapted from the Francis Ford Coppola film, at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2001; the role of 'Nancy' in Oliver! at the London Palladium in 1996; the role of 'Amalia' in She Loves Me at the Savoy Theatre in 1994; the role of 'Polly Baker' Crazy for You at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1993; the role of 'Fantine' in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre in 1992; and the role of 'Aphra' in Children of Eden at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1991.
Paul Rider's West End credits include the role of 'Mr Kelvil MP' in Dominic Dromgoole's revival of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2017 and the role of 'Dr. Einstein' in Matthew Francis' revival of Joseph Kesselring's Arsenic And Old Lace at the Novello Theatre in 2003. He has also previously played the role of 'Amos Hart' in this production Chicago at both the Adelphi Theatre and the Cambridge Theatre.
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. Originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. This production based on the presentation by City Center's Encores. Musical by Fred Ebb and John Kander, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
"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
"Even if Chicago is not quite as tough as it pretends, it boasts a wealth of good tunes and presents murder as if it were a vaudevillian spectacle - a point avidly seized on in this production, where the band is centre stage, the cast watch the action on surrounding chairs and the numbers are introduced as if they were separate turns. Bobbie's production highlights the story's self-conscious theatricality. But what gives it real distinction is Ann Reinking's choreography 'in the style of Bob Fosse'. All the Fosse elements are there: the tip-tilted bowler hats, the emphasis on crotch and bottom, the floor-level glides and slides, the truck driver sexuality. Reinking has taken Fosse's key ingredients and turned them into a dish of her own devising... This is a highly skilled Broadway import. And one can point to numerous excellent details - the shock when a rope crashes to the ground, reminding us that a Hungarian suspect, vainly protesting her innocence, has actually been hanged; or the false glitter of 'Razzle Dazzle', suggesting that American life is a series of illusions, which ends with the audience momentarily blinded by a descending lighting-bar." The Guardian
"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
This revival, directed by Walter Bobbie, was first seen in London's West End at the Adelphi Theatre when the original cast featured Ruthie Henshall as 'Roxie Hart', Ute Lemper as 'Velma Kelly', Henry Goodman as 'Billy Flynn' and Nigel Planer as 'Amos Hart' (previewed from 28 October 1997, opened on 18 November 1997 and closed on 22 April 2006) before it transferred, first to the Cambridge Theatre (from 28 April 2006 to 27 August 2011), before finally transferring to the Garrick Theatre (7 November 2011, Closed 1 September 2012) where it closed after a combined run of just under 15 years
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