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"Chicago" review

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Introduction

"Chicago" Currently playing at the AdelphiTheatre Reviewed November 2002 Still running with renewed cast Direction: Walter Bobbie Music, Book & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb Choreography: Ann Reinking (based on Bob Fosse's original choreography) Cast Reviewed: Patrick Wilson, John Ellison Conlee, Andre De Shields, Jason Danieley, Romain Fruge, Marcus Neville, Kathleen Freeman and Emily Skinner If you can't get to the Westend this year to see the sassy musical Chicago you needn't worry. Come next year. It will still be here! This crowd-pleaser already has the quotes from the critics on its side. Now, eight times a week 1480 people in the AdelphiTheatre go out singing both its praises and its songs - or at least the hummable melody of one the last songs, "Razzle Dazzle". The book is by John Kander and Fred Ebb (authors of New York, New York, Cabaret and Kiss of the Spiderwoman) ...read more.

Middle

Kander and Ebb deliver a sure touch in both the music and lyrics departments. They can reach for a tortured rhyme with the best of them: he rhymes "cojones" with "testosterone is" and lipo (as in liposuction) with "hypo." He can use references that establish character and time with a drop of a name: Buddy Grecko and Stan Kenton figure in the lyric of a character of just the right age and background to drop those names. He can build an entire song on a concept: his opener is "Scrap" as unemployed steelworkers describe the corrosion of the soul of prolonged joblessness. While not all of the numbers work equally well, some are wonderful indeed. The aforementioned "Scrap," "Man" and "Breeze Off The River" are particularly satisfying. "Yazbek has strong, jazzy music for strip routines, sharply repetitive motifs for reinforcing patter and some very pleasant melodies, although it is always difficult to assess these on a single hearing. ...read more.

Conclusion

She has a role not included in the movie version of the story: she is the rehearsal pianist for the would-be strippers. It is a role that looks for all the world as if it was constructed for Dorothy Loudon (the original, Tony-winning Miss Hannigan in Annie) but she makes the most of it, strutting and wisecracking all the while. With all it has going for it The Full Monty really has one thing to set it apart from other attempts to stage a film as a musical, McNally's clear understanding that musical plays, even musical comedies, need to have a strong, clear, consistent and acceptable sense of sentimentality. Sure, you can lampoon popular culture. Yes, you can titillate with a strip-tease that emphasizes the tease. All of that is acceptable if, and only if, it is in the telling of a story that tugs at the heart and asks the audience to care about characters who are worthy of the concern. The Full Monty has that and all the rest as well. It should run for quite a while ...read more.

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