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STAGE TUBE: The Men of Cumberland County Playhouse's CHICAGO

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Summer in Tennessee sizzles as Cumberland County Playhouse turns up the heat with its production of Kander and Ebb's Chicago, opening July 21 in an all-new staging that brings the 1920s roaring back. Chicago features music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb (the team behind Cabaret, Steel Pier and The Scottsboro Boys).

Chicago is described as a riveting, ironic, tongue-in-cheek tale of fame and fortune, glitz and glamour...and all that jazz.  It's a touch bawdy, a bit rowdy with songs and showgirls, tommy guns, top tunes and fast, flashy dancing. It's city slickers, red hot mamas, small town guys in deep city trouble -watch your wallet, your gal, and have some fun!

The show stars Ali Gritz and JoAnn Coleman as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, and Playhouse star Britt Hancock (fresh from national tours of Hairspray and The Producers) as Billy Flynn, the razzle-dazzle defense attorney who helps our heroines find more fame and fortune as notorious criminals than they could ever have dreamed. 

Among other actors featured in the ensemble are Daniel Black as Roxie's gullible husband, Amos:Lauren Marshall Murphy as Matron "Mama" Morton: and Nicole Bégué Hackmann, Jensen Crain, Lindy Pendzick, Caitlin Schaub and Weslie Webster as the "merry murderesses" of the Cook County Jail.  

Chicago is directed by John Fionte (My Fair Lady, A Little Night Music, Little Shop of Horrors), with choreography by Leila Nelson (Little Shop of Horrors, My Fair Lady), and music direction by Ron Murphy (Cats, Hairspray).

Chicago first hit Broadway in 1975 for a thousand shows, returning in 1996 for 6,000 more, and it continues to be one of Broadway's most popular tickets. Worldwide Chicago has played 15,000 times for 17 million people. The winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy, and thousands of standing ovations, Chicago wows audiences from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa.  The 2002 Oscar-winning film starred Catherine Zeta-JonesRenee ZellwegerRichard Gere and Queen Latifah

To keep the show firmly within The Playhouse's PG rating (or maybe PG-13!) and "family theater" bounds, producer Jim Crabtree told costume designer Rebel Mickelson, "Hot modesty! We need hot modesty! Costumes tight but not too much skin! Slightly suggestive, but not really scandalous!, tough as nails, yet sweet as sugar. Nothing too wild except the audience's imagination! Can The Playhouse pull it off? 

For tickets to Chicago and all CCP shows, go online at www.ccplayhouse.com, or call (931) 484-5000. Now playing is the revival of Duck Hunter Shoots Angel; the musical Little Shop of Horrors starring Greg and Lindy Pendzick, through August 16; and Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic, through September 2. August openings include Smoke on the Mountain and Dearly Departed.

pictured: Britt Hancock



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