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CHICAGO, Featuring Broadway Cast, to Premiere in Manila?

CHICAGO, Featuring Broadway Cast, to Premiere in Manila?
Anne Horak (Roxie Hart) and Amra-Faye Wright (Velma Kelly) in
CHICAGO on Broadway (Photo: Walter McBride)

According to inside sources, an imminent staging of the hit Broadway musical CHICAGO, featuring Broadway cast members, might just as well be the next international production import--right on the heels of "Stomp" and "Wicked"--that Manila needs to boost its chances of gaining full recognition as the official "Musical Theater hub of Southeast Asia."

Additionally, these inside sources believe that Manila truly deserves the title on a silver platter what with the Filipinos' overtly passionate support of the booming local musical theater industry, and their overwhelming patronage of international touring productions.

Over the past 14 years, Manila has hosted an impressive roster of commercially viable international touring productions, such as "Miss Saigon," "Cats", and "Phantom of the Opera," to name a few. Add to that list Broadway's biggest blockbuster Stephen Schwartz's "Wicked," performed earlier this year to hugely enthusiastic audiences at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

Furthermore, next year promises an even brighter frontier for musical theater in Manila with the staging of the international touring production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" at the CCP in January 2015.

Is Manila Ready for CHICAGO, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history?

CHICAGO, which has rightfully claimed its special place on Broadway as a "massive New York institution," is being predicted to become one of this year's most hotly-anticipated theatrical events in Manila.

With CHICAGO's international touring productions staged in Brazil, Japan (2008), and Peru (2012), which also enjoyed both critical acclaim and commercial success, a Philippine staging should come as no surprise given the country's growing passion for musical theater.

The inspiring success stories of Filipino Tony winner Lea Salonga, Joanna Ampil (Grizabella in CATS UK Tour 2013) and very recently, Rachelle Ann Go--whose performances as Gigi in the 25th anniversary revival of "Miss Saigon" in London are marked by rave reviews--all hugely contribute to the fueling of the Philippines' steadily expanding interest in musical theater.

According to reports, the production outfits at the helm of "CHICAGO Manila 2014" are keenly eyeing the current Broadway company, which stars Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart (Lindsay Roginski plays Roxie beginning Monday, June 30) and Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, as the best possible cast and crew to bring to Manila.

There are also widespread talks confirming that the production outfits behind the show in Manila are currently in extensive negotiations to finalize performance schedules within this year and venue details.

CHICAGO, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse, presents a satire on corruption involving a scandalous murder committed by its central characters Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly.

Its film adaptation of the same name also enjoyed critical and commercial success in 2002, which grossed $306,403,013 worldwide and went on to win six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones in her role as Velma Kelly.

CHICAGO also holds the record for the longest-running musical revival on Broadway--winning six Tony awards in 1996, including Best Musical Revival. The show's West End revival also went on to set an international record as the longest-running American musical in the history of London's West End, running for a remarkable 15 years.

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