“Chicago” is a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery-all those things we hold near and dear to our heart. It is jurisprudence-as-show business and trial-by-publicity. It is a tale of the sensational murderess Velma Kelly, the reigning queen of the Cook County jail, and Roxie Hart, the newest of the merry murderesses, who, of course, haven’t really committed any crime (their men had it coming). Velma won’t give Roxie the time of day, so she turns to the jailhouse matron for advice. For a small bribe, the matron tips Roxie to Billy Flynn, the legal Mr. Fix-it, who knows everything about women, juries, and how to weave sympathy into the press conferences he holds for his clients. As her mouthpiece (using her as a ventriloquist’s dummy), Billy pulls the strings that make Roxie the new queen of the self-defense killers.
Since no woman has been hanged in Cook County in 47 years, it seems only a short time until she can parlay all the publicity into vaudeville stardom. Roxie has bumped Velma off the front pages, stolen her lawyer, even her court date. Now, Velma tries to persuade Roxie to do a sister act. Remembering her treatment earlier, Roxie returns the cold shoulder. Roxie is a star, a single, until Go-to-Hell Kitty, the most sensuous murderess yet, comes on the scene. Roxie, realizing she could quickly lose all she has gained, faints and announces that she is going to have a baby. Refusing to go along with the courthouse charade, an innocent girl is found guilty and hanged-breaking the 47 year tradition. Velma and Roxie both panic and plead with Billy to get their cases over with in a hurry. They are found innocent, of course, but at the moment of Roxie’s triumph another woman shoots up the courthouse and steals all the headlines. Roxie and Velma shrug as if to say That’s show biz and decide to salvage as much publicity as they can by doing the sister act-and all that jazz!
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, Based on the play “Chicago” by Maurine Dallas Wattkin
Chicago Preview (Curtain Calls 1.1, May 2006)
Community Players closed out its 82nd season with the popular musical “Chicago.” The musical was a fast-paced combination of jazz music, energetic dancing, and storytelling. The show was praised for all aspects of its production. There were seven newcomers in the cast of 21, including Dan Marcotte the musical director for the show.
Along with the musical came the first issue of Community Players’ newsletter Curtain Calls produced by Jim Kalmbach, John Lieder, Bob McLaughlin, Sally Parry, and JoAnn Yount with contributions from a host of directors, producers, actors, and musicians. The newsletter included director insights and information about upcoming shows, audition requirement, news from the Board of Governors, volunteer opportunities and some news from other venues as well as a variety of feature articles. Curtain Calls would be published prior to the opening of each Players’ productions for the next ten years.