Sunday Gina and I went to see the touring company of Chicago at Orlando’s Bob Carr center. It was the final performance before they moved on, and our tickets were perhaps the best I’ve ever had at the Carr – orchestra center just 10 rows back. Sight lines were ideal and I had no use for the opera glasses I brought along. The Carr was nearly sold out.
I was a little surprised at the minimal staging. The set was only a bandstand, and there were no costume changes. However I read up later and found that this staging was characteristic of the 1996 Broadway revival of the show, which is still running today. The original opened in 1975. Popular thought is that the show resonated more with audiences in the 90’s era of celebrity criminals like OJ Simpson. To me it brought to mind the media appetite for our local Casey Anthony case, a pretty young woman suspected of a particularly heinous murder.
The touring cast was polished and first rate. Bonnie Langford was a little oldish for the part of Roxie Hart, but both she and Brent Barret (Billy Flynn) appeared in the Broadway revival at one point. Langford is a Brit, best known as one of the 1980’s Dr. Who companions. All cast members had near invisible body mics which were almost perfectly mixed from where I was seated. The onstage band included a banjo player. It was nice to hear some songs that were cut from the 2002 movie.