Photo Coverage: Shonda Rhimes Visits CHICAGO's Chandra Wilson
"Grey's Anatomy" star Chandra Wilson has stepped into the celebrated role of Matron "Mama" Morton, the reigning cellblock diva of the smash hit musical CHICAGO. Chandra Wilson has joined the production for a four-week limited engagement which began, Monday, June 8th. She will perform in the production through Sunday, July 5, 2009 at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W. 49th St.). BroadwayWorld.com's cameras were there as she welcomed "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes backstage after the Monday June 22nd performance!
For her critically-acclaimed portrayal of Dr. Miranda Bailey on "Grey's Anatomy," Wilson has earned not only three Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, but also a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, a second Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Drama Series Ensemble and three NAACP Image Awards. A Houston native, Wilson began performing in musicals at the age of five with Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), where she appeared in more than ten of their major musical productions. She went on to earn her BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she spent four years training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Her greatest New York stage accomplishment thus far is her portrayal of Bonna Willis in the production of Lynda Barry's The Good Times Are Killing Me, both at the Second Stage and Minetta Lane Theatres, for which she won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance. In 2004 she was selected by The New York Times as one of "Eight to Watch, Onstage and Behind the Scenes." This honor came in conjunction with the Broadway opening of Caroline, or Change, written by Tony Kushner, composed by Jeanine Tesori and directed by George C. Wolfe, in which she portrayed Dotty Moffett opposite Tonya Pinkins. She also appeared in the Broadway productions of Avenue Q and On the Town. Her other stage credits include Caroline, or Change at The Public Theatre, The Miracle Worker at Charlotte Repertory Theatre, Paper Moon: The Musical at The Paper Mill Playhouse and Theresa Rebeck's The Family of Mann at Second Stage Theatre.
Wilson recently starred in "Accidental Friendship" for the Hallmark Channel, in which she played a homeless woman who is befriended by a Los Angeles police officer. Other television credits include series regular Claudia Hopper on ABC's "Bob Patterson," along with numerous guest appearances on "The Sopranos," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Sex and the City," "Third Watch," "100 Centre Street," "Cosby" and "The Cosby Show." She has also had recurring roles on "One Life to Live" and "Queens Supreme." On the big screen she's had supporting roles in the films Lone Star, directed by John Sayles, and Philadelphia, directed by Jonathan Demme.
Now celebrating more than twelve glorious years of girls, glitz and glamour on the Great White Way, on Tuesday, March 24 the record-breaking smash hit musical CHICAGO will become the seventh longest-running production in Broadway history (surpassing Rent with 5,125 total performances to-date) ... and it still shows no sign of ever slowing down!
CHICAGO features a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, and is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.
Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids.
Directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking, CHICAGO features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design by Scott Lehrer. Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, CHICAGO has become a worldwide phenomenon with productions in 24 countries and 11 languages since 1996.
The record-breaking London production of CHICAGO continues to hold the record as the longest-running American musical in West End history. CHICAGO is also currently on tour throughout the U.S. and Canada, with international tours to commence in Australia and the United Kingdom this month (March 2009). Also this year, international return engagements of CHICAGO are in the works for Korea, Japan and Holland, as well as the premiere production in Spain. International productions are slated for Argentina and Sweden in 2010, and Norway and Venezuela in 2011. Visit www.ChicagoTheMusical.com for more information.
CHICAGO plays on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W. 49th St.). The regular weekly performance schedule is as follows:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets are available by calling Telecharge.com at 212-239-6200. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Ambassador Theatre Box Office.
Regular Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Photos by Peter James Zielinski
CHICAGO at the Ambassador
The cast of CHICAGO takes a bow!
Chandra Wilson and Shonda Rhimes
Chandra Wilson and Shonda Rhimes