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CHICAGO to Become Second-Longest Running Show in Broadway History

This November, the Tony Award-winning, worldwide musical smash Chicago will celebrate a monumental milestone when it becomes the second-longest running show in Broadway history.

At the evening performance on Sunday, November 23, Chicago will surpass the iconic Broadway blockbuster "Cats" with a record-breaking total of 7,486 performances.

As of that date, in more than a century of Broadway theater, only one show -- "The Phantom of the Opera" -- will have run longer than Chicago.

"When the revival of CHICAGO first opened on Broadway in 1996, a milestone like this would have truly exceeded my wildest dreams," said producer Barry Weissler. "Yet here we are -- just a few weeks away from becoming the second-longest running show in Broadway history! Eighteen years ago, Walter Bobbie and Ann Reinking recreated a musical masterpiece that has withstood the test of time, and it's with great honor that I look forward to sharing their masterpiece with audiences for many more years to come." Producer Fran Weissler said: "This incredible moment is a testament not only to the unparalleled genius of the Chicago creators -- John Kander, Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse -- but to the magnificent contributions from countless actors, musicians, stagehands, dance captains, crew members, advertising and marketing gurus, stage managers, production managers and more who have participated in our show these past 18 years. They continually succeed at being the absolute best in the business!"

In addition to its ongoing Broadway success, Chicago is a worldwide stage phenomenon. It has been seen in more than 30 countries and in 12 languages across the globe since 1996.

This fall, Chicago will launch its 16th national touring Broadway production, a 30-city itinerary that includes return engagements to New Orleans, San Francisco, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Baltimore and many more. That touring company will also play a three-week debut engagement in Manila this holiday season -- marking the first time that an all-star American cast of CHICAGO has played in the Philippines.

One of the most popular musicals in Broadway history, the revival of Chicago first began in May 1996 with a weekend presentation as part of City Center's acclaimed Encores! series. At the time, that brief four-performance engagement of Chicago -- helmed by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking -- was the top-grossing production in the history of Encores!. Produced by Barry & Fran Weissler, Chicago opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on November 14, 1996. It transferred to the Shubert Theatre in February 1997, and played there through January 26, 2003. The revival reopened at its current home -- the Ambassador Theatre -- three days later on January 29, 2003. With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, CHICAGO received six 1997 Tony Awards for Best Musical Revival, Best Direction of a Musical (Walter Bobbie), Best Choreography (Ann Reinking), Best Lighting Design (Ken Billington), Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Bebe Neuwirth) and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (James Naughton).

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.

CHICAGO now stars Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald as Billy Flynn (through October 5), Paul C. Vogt as Amos Hart (through October 26), Olivier Award nominee Carol Woods as Matron "Mama" Morton (through September 28) and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.

The Chicago ensemble includes Donna Marie Asbury, Nicole Bridgewater, David Bushman, Jennifer Dunne, Anne Horak, Adam Jepsen, J. Loeffelholz, Melissa Rae Mahon, Sharon Moore, Brian O'Brien, Alfie Parker Jr., Denny Paschall, Stephanie Pope, Jason Patrick Sands, Michael Scirrotto, Brian Spitulnik, Tonya Wathen and Adam Zotovich.

CHICAGO features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, sound design by Scott Lehrer, musical supervision by Rob Fisher and musical direction by Leslie Stifelman.

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Photo by Jeremy Daniel

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