BWW Review: CHICAGO Is On Fire ~ Fairclough & Tomkus Are The Match!
CHICAGO is on fire and sparks are flying at Fountain Hills Theater as Victoria Fairclough and Gina Tomkus electrify the stage with sizzling performances as femme fatales Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly.
The company's artistic director, Peter J. Hill, has imprinted the Kander & Ebb classic with his distinctive flair and produced a stylish, sexy, and slickly choreographed (Noel Irick) showcase of talent. The roar of the '20's does not abate as his dynamite cast delivers one knockout performance after another:
Fairclough's Roxie bubbles with vanity, vulnerability and plus-sized vocals as she learns the rules and ropes of the Cook County jail and prepares for her page-one murder trial, all the while hoping that celebrity will be the final Verdict.
Gina Tomkus is equally vivacious and scintillating as the sassy, provocative, and streetwise inmate, Velma Kelly, packing a punch with every song she sings.
These two firecrackers are backed up by a terrific ensemble of Merry Murderesses (Summer Beckman, Riley Johnson, Haylee Klein, Estee Oglesbee, and Anna Sell) and standout performances by Scot Claus as Billy Flynn, the suave master of legal sleight of mouth; Morgan Ottersbach as Mama Morton, the wily matron of the jail for whom reciprocity is a driving principle; Pat Styles, hilarious as Mary Sunshine, the offbeat on-the-beat tabloid reporter; and Michael Paul Wallot who, as Roxie's cuckold husband Amos, charms the audience with a touching version of Mr. Cellophane.
The musical is outfitted with dazzling costumes by Irick and Gail Oliphant and sets by Hill that evoke the atmosphere of a deco and decadent era.
The bottom line: Hill and company have served up a memorable jazzy razzle dazzle reprise of CHICAGO. The show will continue to burn up the Mainstage of Fountain Hills Theater through September 17th. Robust and titillating entertainment, it's a must-see!
Photo credit to Carly Weekley