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December 6, 2014

Broadway’s 'Chicago: The Musical' Dazzles Manila Audiences

The Grand, The Great and The Fun: Broadway’s 'Chicago: The Musical' Dazzles Manila Audiences

Those who have seen the 2002 Academy Award-winning Rob Marshall film should be well-aware that Chicago has no intentions of teaching us “nice” things. Instead, the story revolves around the intricacies of sin, leaving its audience to be thoroughly entertained by the lives and antics of the Cook County Jail’s merry murderesses. Chicago has always been sexy enough on the silverscreen, but there is nothing quite like witnessing the entire spectacle unfold before one’s very eyes onstage.
Manila is more than fortunate enough to be the only Asian destination for this special run. The presence of Chicago: The Musical marks a series of many firsts for the Filipino theatre audience. Not only will it be the first Broadway showcase in Solaire’s brand-new, state of the art theatre, but it is also the very first time that this particular production has reached Philippine shores with a capable, talented international cast and crew in tow.

Leading the cast is the vivacious and riveting duo of Bianca Marroquin (Roxie Hart) and Terra C. MacLeod (Velma Kelly). Marroquin, who is of Mexican origin, possesses a natural charisma that draws an audience to her almost instantly. Roxie Hart’s character is one to cope by pouting and pleading her way to innocence despite her actual guilt, but the charming and adorable way Marroquin carries her makes one want to coddle her for being amusing. She shines, most particularly, in song numbers such as the high-strung “We Both Reached for the Gun” and the flawlessly entertaining “Roxie”. MacLeod, in a perfect tribute to Velma Kelly’s sultry, ambitious character, sings and performs with a smoky voice that’s meant for the ages. There is nothing quite like listening to her command attention as she performs popular tunes like “All That Jazz” and the eternal crowd favourite “Cell Block Tango”. These two fine women are backed by an equally strong supporting company. Others to watch for are Jeff McCarthy, who plays the silver-tongued lawyer Billy Flynn, Jacob Keith Watson as Roxie’s naiive husband Amos Hart, and C. Newcomer as sensationalist reporter Mary Sunshine. Together, these seasoned performers bring about a dazzling, sexy rendition of one of Broadway’s sauciest plays.

The Manila run of Chicago takes on the popular minimalist approach. Props like ladders and chairs make up the most of what you will see onstage, and they are used to full capacity to serve all sorts of purposes. There are next to no costume changes, either, but the sheer talent of the cast and crew allow the audience to distinguish even the smallest shift in characters. Pay close attention to the orchestra conductor, too, as some of the best scenes have him playing bit parts.
Overall, the story of Chicago is one meant to entertain, and not to be taken seriously. The best way to enjoy the show is to sit back, relax and let go of your inhibitions. Allow yourself to be drawn into the sensual, dangerous world of these small town murderesses who continue to dream of vaudeville fame despite being on death row.  In this fictional setting, one’s ticket to freedom is worth five thousand grand and the people’s sympathy vote.
Catch this limited run of Chicago: The Musical while you can. I am happy to plead not guilty as I enable you to do so.
Ticket Prices
'Chicago: The Musical' runs from December 3 to 21, 2014 at Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Solaire Blvd., Entertainment City, Pasay, Metro Manila. The performance runs 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission, and is recommended for audiences aged 13 years and older. One show each for Tuesday to Friday (8pm), and two shows (3pm and 8pm) for Saturdays and Sundays. For ticket inquiries and reservations, call Ticketworld at (63 2) 891-9999, or buy your tickets online here.


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