AUSTIN -- The noisy hall with the nightly brawl will take over Bass Concert Hall.
Murder, greed, corruption, and violence play out against the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s in the Broadway touring production of "Chicago."
John O'Hurley of "Seinfeld" and "Dancing with the Stars" fame plays Billy Flynn, the lawyer who takes the case of fame-hungry, trigger-happy Roxie Hart. Hart's story was first told in the 1926 play "Chicago" and was followed by a silent movie, a Ginger Rogers movie, the 1975 Broadway stage musical (and its 1996 revival), and the Oscar-winning 2002 movie musical.
"What is interesting about Roxie is that although she is a murderess and may be thought of as a detestable human being, the audience still roots for her and finds her lovable and appealing. I suppose it may be debatable as to whether or not Roxie really has the talent to back up the fame she desires, but like so many celebrities today, it's not always about talent," explains Ann Horak, who plays Roxie in the touring company. "There is such mystique surrounding the notion of celebrity, and many people don't care how....they just want to experience what that feels like."
With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Cabaret," "New York, New York"), "Chicago" is now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. Fosse's detailed choreography stood out in its time and influenced dancers for decades. The 1996 revival (this production) was choreographed by Ann Reinking, who brought back the Fosse style.
"When I was learning the show there was definitely a 'less is more mentality.' The style requires you to isolate everything down to your eyes and fingers. There is so much power in stillness so that making a circular motion with one finger makes a statement. Fosse was also famous for pigeon-toed (a more turned in) style of walking and specific arm and elbow positions. It may feel awkward and very unnatural for dancers to master, but that's what makes it so unique," adds Horak. "If you look at the dancing of more current celebrities you can see how Fosse was the source of great inspiration for artists such as Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce."
"Chicago" stops in Austin Nov. 19-24. Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.com, the Bass Concert Hall, all Texas Box Office Outlets, and by phone at (512) 477-6060.
Click the player below for a taste of "Chicago."