To the Ragtime-flavored tunes ,of the "Chicago Orchestra" and in a bright and gaudy dance hall setting you are transported back the wild carefree and uninhibited era of the 1920s vaudeville.
"Chicago," a Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb musical comedy, is a rowdy, bawdy, old-time fun-time brought to you courtesy of the FC Theatre Arts Department.
A cast full of energy and pizazz is needed to carry off this sometimes outrageous play full of one-liners, quips and double entendre. "Chicago" is also filled with sexy jazzy song and dance numbers to keep the lively action going.
FC delivers a high-energy cast headed by Stephanie Cabral as the sassy, sexy and soft-hearted Thelma Kelly. Cabral, an FC theater veteran, really comes into her own and gives Velma bite and conviction. At times Cabral reminds you of a young Rita Moreno in "West Side Story", and she has a strong, vibrant singing voice that comes out as stong as Velma is. Velma's foil is the delightfully flirty and surprisingly ingenious Roxie Hart, played with charming conviction by Kelly Jo Lynch. If the name Roxie Hart sounds like a name out of a story book then it goes along with her larger than life personality.
In colorful and sometimes outlandish supporting roles were Dana Adkins, who Was wonderfully raunchy as the whiskey wizened old jail matron "Mama," Paul Scop as the virtually invisible cuckold husband of Roxie, Randy Ingram as the expansively engaging ladies' lawyer, and in fine singing style, F.L. Matthews as the memorable Mary Sunshine, a gossip columnist of sorts.
Adkins and Scop in particular seemed to be made for their parts, Adkins being every inch the tough Mama right down to the gravelly voice and stinky cigar. As the funny-sad clownish Amos, Scop showed great restraint and control, only to win your heart in his solo, "Mr Cellophane."
The multi-tiered set designed by Todd Glen worked perfectly. It was clean and spacious enough for the dance numbers and big and imposing enough to give that flashy, grandiose '20s effect.
The set with various moving parts and sets, such as jail bars on wheels, were integral to the considerable visual impact of the show.
Adding to the flavor of bawdiness and color of "Chicago" were the campy, sexy and varied costumes designed by Mela Hoyt Heydon.
The energetic dances that dazzle, from the slinky opening number "All That Jazz" to the last click of the tap dances, were choreographed by Mary Bettini and her assistant Elizabeth B. Hess.
"Chicago" is an all-out explosion of energy that provides a riotous evening of revelry and fun for all.
Unfortunately, all showings of "Chicago" are sold out for the rest of it's run at FC, but look forward to some more fine presentations from the FC Theatre Department this spring.