The Best of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Chicago

Chicago – A Timeless Musical Revival that Shines Bright on Melbourne’s Stage

The lights of Melbourne’s theatre district are shining brighter than ever as Chicago takes the stage, bringing with it a revival that’s as captivating as it is memorable. This latest tour of the quintessential musical is a must-see for any theatre enthusiast, delivering a performance that blends timeless charm with infectious energy.

Set against the backdrop of the roaring 1920s, Chicago tells the tale of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who finds herself embroiled in scandal after murdering her lover. With the help of slick lawyer Billy Flynn, Roxie manipulates the media and public perception to turn her crime into a sensational story fit for the tabloids.

Chicago stands as the longest-running show, currently on Broadway, a scorching hot masterpiece that continues to dazzle audiences. Its glittering score, including iconic songs like “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” and “Razzle Dazzle,” has cemented its place in musical theatre history. Created by the legendary musical theatre talents of John Kander and Fred Ebb, “Chicago” has been honored with six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards, and a Grammy®. Its success is a testament to the enduring power of its story and the timeless appeal of its music and choreography.

The music of Chicago is legendary, with every song a show-stopping hit. The brass and percussion transport audiences to a 1920s jazz nightclub, creating an electric atmosphere that’s impossible to resist. The band in this tour is truly fantastic, adding to the immersive experience of the performance.

This revival version of Chicago from 1996 takes a stripped-back and minimalistic approach, allowing the performers to shine. The stage is cleverly designed, with the band visible to all, positioned in a jury box that adds to the courtroom drama of the show. This design choice creates a pure connection between the performers and the audience, drawing them into the story. It also allows for greater focus on the choreography of Bob Fosse, a standout feature of the show. His style relies on precise and small movements that with this increased focus, add to the overall spectacle. The cast and ensemble bring Fosse’s choreography to life with skill and enthusiasm, creating a mesmerizing dance experience.

Zoe Ventoura dazzles as the powerful and glamorous Velma Kelly, showcasing her musicality and movement with flair. Lucy Maunder is excellent as the cold-hearted Roxie Hart, a far departure from her previous maternal roles in Mary Poppins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, infusing the character with depth and nuance.

Anthony Warlow, one of Australian theatre’s greatest leading men, commands the stage as the cunning and charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn. With a career that spans Broadway and stages across Australia, Warlow’s portrayal of Flynn is nothing short of legendary. His powerful voice and commanding presence add a new dimension to the character, making him a standout in every scene.

Peter Rowsthorn brings heart and nuance to the role of Amos, Roxie’s gullible husband, while Asabi Goodman is a powerhouse as the tough and sassy prison warden Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. The ensemble cast is electric, with the girls in the cell block tango standing out for their exceptional performance.

Chicago is more than just a musical; it’s a cultural celebration that bridges generations. Whether you’re reliving the magic or experiencing it for the first time, this production promises an unforgettable journey through the camaraderie, romance, and rebellious spirit of the 1920s. Time after time, Chicago proves that it’s commentary on celebrity, tabloid media and American values is as relevant today as it was written in 1975. So, don your best flapper dress or sharp pinstripe suit and join the party – because Chicago is alive and thriving in Melbourne!

Tickets are currently on sale until May 26. For more information or to book tickets, visit Chicago the Musical

Written by Michael Kent

Images by Jeff Busby