Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread

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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1651
Posted: 5/10/19 at 12:45am

I saw the national tour of Chicago tonight, in Chicago!  I have seen the Broadway production 29 times, so it was fun to compare and contrast the two productions. 

The audience LOVED the show. So much cheering---dare I say MUCH more cheering than the last time I saw Chicago's Hamilton. However, there were some major sound issues. I would say that about 90% of Billy Flynn's lines were not heard, partly because of Eddie George's mumbling and partly because of the poor sound system.  At first I thought maybe it was some weird directorial decision for the tour to have the chorus whisper, but then I realized as the show went on that the sound was not amped up enough for the cavernous Cadillac Palace. Quiet mics, no projected voices and a faulty sound design made quiet a few lines get lost. 

Eddie George was fun to watch because I could tell he absolutely loved being on that stage. Especially during Reached for the Gun. Dylis Croman----my my my WHY is this woman not the permanent Velma on Broadway?  She is so talented!!  

Some tech differences: no elevator for Roxie at the top of the show; she simply walks up the stairs upstage. The stage right ladder swung on a hinge, but the stage left ladder was rolled out and rolled back. Weird, right?  For the courtroom scene, the light rig did not fly in and was instead just a light panel underneath the "jury box" set.  Razzle Dazzle was about 90% new choreography with lots of acrobatic tricks that looked unique to the specific actor's talents. The song did not even start with a chorus boy gliding across the stage on his back to give Billy a baton. Instead, he was on the stage left ladder riding it like a bicycle--very strange but somehow effective. The orchestra was good but definitely not as polished as Broadway's. And yikes the precision during All That Jazz was not there; Velma was always a beat ahead of the chorus and several chorus members were definitely frustrated by it by the looks on their faces. Paul Vogt gave the longest Broadway Cares speech I've ever heard. Not that I'm complaining---it's a worthy cause, but the length of the speech did make quite a few people decide to get up and leave. All in all, a great show and I wish it were in town for more than a week!!!

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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1652
Posted: 5/11/19 at 11:11am

If you're a fan of "Chicago" and love Donna Marie Asbury, she will play Velma Kelly on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18th.  Those are probably the last times you'll catch her in that role, before she leaves the show on June 3, 2019.  I wish I could be there!  

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1653
Posted: 5/12/19 at 10:26am

Damn, I really hope there's another last-minute chance to see her as Velma, I'm out of town next weekend.



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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1654
Posted: 5/12/19 at 11:33pm

Phantom4ever said: "I saw the national tour of Chicago tonight, in Chicago! I have seen the Broadway production 29 times, so it was fun to compare and contrast the two productions.

The audience LOVED the show. So much cheering---dare I say MUCH more cheering than the last time I saw Chicago's Hamilton. However, there were some major sound issues. I would say that about 90% of Billy Flynn's lines were not heard, partly because of Eddie George's mumbling and partly because of the poor sound system. At first I thought maybe it was some weird directorial decision for the tour to have the chorus whisper, but then I realized as the show went on that the sound was not amped up enough for the cavernous Cadillac Palace. Quiet mics, no projected voices and a faulty sound design made quiet a few lines get lost.

Eddie George was fun to watch because I could tell he absolutely loved being on that stage. Especially during Reached for the Gun. Dylis Croman----my my my WHY is this woman not the permanent Velma on Broadway? She is so talented!!

Some tech differences: no elevator for Roxie at the top of the show; she simply walks up the stairs upstage. The stage right ladder swung on a hinge, but the stage left ladder was rolled out and rolled back. Weird, right? For the courtroom scene, the light rig did not fly in and was instead just a light panel underneath the "jury box" set. Razzle Dazzle was about 90% new choreographywith lots of acrobatic tricks that looked unique to the specific actor's talents. The song did not even start with a chorus boy gliding across the stage on his back to give Billy a baton. Instead, he was on the stage left ladder riding it like a bicycle--very strange but somehow effective. The orchestra was good but definitely not as polished as Broadway's. And yikes the precision during All That Jazz was not there; Velma was always a beat ahead of the chorus and several chorus members were definitely frustrated by it by the looks on their faces. Paul Vogt gave the longest Broadway Cares speech I've ever heard. Not that I'm complaining---it's a worthy cause, but the length of the speech did make quite a few people decide to get up and leave. All in all, a great show and I wish it were in town for more than a week!!!
"

I onced asked Dylis Croman if she'd ever want to play Velma Kelly.  She said she would love to.  

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1655
Posted: 5/13/19 at 5:00pm

This is some classic footage that I have never seen.  From the original  production of "Chicago".  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHpd1KxvnF8

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1656
Posted: 5/17/19 at 6:17pm

I read in Naomi C Walley's (Chicago Velma Kelly u/s and Mama Morton u/s) Instagram that she's winding up her run in the show.  Who will be coming in as the new Velma Kelly u/s?  ACL..?

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1657
Posted: 5/17/19 at 8:22pm

Patti LuPone FANatic said: "I read in Naomi C Walley's (Chicago Velma Kelly u/s and Mama Morton u/s) Instagram that she's winding up her run in the show. Who will be coming in as the new Velma Kelly u/s? ACL..?"

 

No clue, but it looks like by June we'll have two new Velma u/s with Donna leaving, too.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1658
Posted: 5/18/19 at 2:14pm

In an interview, DMA mentioned a new cast member who was 23 years of age.  I'm thinking maybe she was referring to the new Billy Flynn understudy, Gary Cooper.  Chicago has seen some significant cast changes within the past year.  I think the newly hired cast members will benefit the show.

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1659
Posted: 5/21/19 at 9:45pm
  • Pilar Millhollen
  • as Velma Kelly (Understudy)
    as Matron "Mama" Morton (Understudy)   I think this veteran "Chicago" cast member is one of the new Velma  understudies.  
"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1660
Posted: 5/21/19 at 9:56pm

Patti LuPone FANatic said: "

  • Pilar Millhollen
  • as Velma Kelly (Understudy)
    as Matron "Mama" Morton (Understudy) I think this veteran "Chicago" cast member is one of the new Velma understudies.

"

Pilar has replaced Naomi C. Walley. Don't know if it's just temporary or a long time stint. Pilar has been in and out of the show for about 6 months now as a vacation cover.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1661
Posted: 5/23/19 at 8:44pm
"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1662
Posted: 5/23/19 at 9:31pm

This is the first time I've seen this video.  I certainly wasn't aware of Chicago when it opened in Nov. 1996.  The interviewer is Steve Kmetko.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HM0GR-xyVI

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1663
Posted: 5/29/19 at 3:35pm
Is Amra still in this on Broadway? She has been in it for years...
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1664
Posted: 5/29/19 at 4:02pm

Yes, AFW is in it until her current run ends on July 14th.  Either Lana Gordon or Terra C will take over the role.  Honestly, there are not that many Velma Kelly replacements.

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1665
Posted: 5/29/19 at 4:16pm
I'm sure there's plenty of newbies out there more than capable of playing Velma. AFW needs to go, she was marking it about 8 years ago, don't know why the producers keep bringing her back.
A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1666
Posted: 5/29/19 at 5:24pm

I agree- granted every time I have seen her, I can't say she wasn't impressive.  However, the notion that this is a role that others can't play well is just dumb.  Get some new blood in there, I've gone to see some of the stunt casting and every time Amra was the co-star.  In that instance it's just not exciting to see her over and over again.  The role isn't Christine, Evita, or even Elphaba, it just seems lazy on the part of casting and/or producers. I don't even need it to be a name, I just want someone new at some point.  I was hoping this would happen with the recent shake-ups that have been happening with the production, but alas, more of the same.

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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1667
Posted: 5/29/19 at 5:34pm

Maybe Naomi C Walley will return to the cast, once she finishes filming her part in the In The Heights film?

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1668
Posted: 5/30/19 at 3:15pm
I saw Amra in London in 2010, that's the only time I saw her. I thought she danced well, sang competently but wasn't much of an actress. I appreciate Velma is a physically demanding role and there probably aren't that many who could do it, but I just don't think Amra is Velma. She has been doing this role for a LONG time and it's just so boring for the audience not to see another performer try this role. I would also love to see a new production of this show. The all black staging and costumes are way past their sell by date, Kander, Ebb and Fosse deserve something better.
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1669
Posted: 5/30/19 at 7:21pm

It's me again said: "I saw Amra in London in 2010, that's the only time I saw her. I thought she danced well, sang competently but wasn't much of an actress. I appreciate Velma is a physically demanding role and there probably aren't that many who could do it, but I just don't think Amra is Velma. She has been doing this role for a LONG time and it's just so boring for the audience not to see another performer try this role. I would also love to see a new production of this show. The all black staging and costumes are way past their sell by date, Kander, Ebb and Fosse deserve something better.

 'I'll just comment on the last parts of your reply.  The all black staging and costumes are an integral part of the show.  It's part of the show's continued success.  It's classic, simple and effective.  "Chicago" has lasted more than 22 years for these and other reasons.  The show's original creators would be (are) proud of the continued success of the revival.  Other shows have come and gone. "Chicago" continues and will continue to flourish here in the U.S.  and around the world.  

 

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1670
Posted: 6/2/19 at 5:54pm

At the last minute, Donna Marie Asbury is on tonight as Velma Kelly.  Her last day with the show is tomorrow, June 3, 2019.

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1671
Posted: 6/3/19 at 6:16pm

https://chicagothemusical.com/cast/   Mary Claire King is listed as the new(est) Velma Kelly understudy.  According to Playbill Vault, she will also play the character of Liz.  June 3, 2019 is listed as her first day.

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
Updated On: 6/3/19 at 06:16 PM
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1672
Posted: 6/3/19 at 6:23pm
"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
Updated On: 6/3/19 at 06:23 PM
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1673
Posted: 6/3/19 at 7:53pm

I think Donna's last day was yesterday. Can't imagine she'd end her run on a Monday.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1674
Posted: 6/3/19 at 8:36pm

Her last day  is today.  She mentioned it some time ago on social media.  Yesterday was her last time as Velma Kelly (a last minute occurrence).  Actually today is a special day in Chicago history.  On this date in 1975, Chicago opened with Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera.

"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)
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Chicago the Musical Appreciation Thread#1675
Posted: 6/4/19 at 4:55pm
"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)