Terra C MacLeod (centre front) stars as Velma Kelly in a production of Broadway smash Chicago, coming to Victoria for the first time. Tickets for the Christmastime run at the Royal Theatre go on sale Friday (Oct. 27). Photo contributed

Chicago prepares to take the stage in Victoria

Tickets go on sale Friday for Tony Award-winning musical’s one week run at the Royal

Chicago, the Tony Award-winning musical rife with scandalous stories of celebrity criminals in the Prohibition-era, is coming to Victoria for the first time.

The toe-tapper first opened on Broadway in 1975, torn from the pages of the 1926 play written by journalist and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins.

A reporter for the Chicago Tribune in the early 1920s, Watkins was asked to cover the beat of women imprisoned at Cook County Jail who had murdered men. The true stories of accused murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner whose high-profile cases sent the press into a whirlwind set against the changing tide of women’s rights in the jazz age, gave way to Watkins’ characters Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart.

Henry Kolenko, of Broadway Victoria, has worked with the production in Calgary, New York and Vancouver and is excited to bring it to the Royal Theatre in his hometown.

“[Chicago] is all about journalism and isn’t it ever prevalent today,” he muses.

“It’s amazing to sort of see the parallels between what Trump does with the media, chasing these headlines and not ever getting down to the meaningful stuff.”

“No wonder it’s still on Broadway, it’s timeless,” Kolenko says. The show’s universal appeal, he adds, is the way it cuts through borders, exposing the ways people can be manipulated to believe things that aren’t true through the “razzle dazzle of smoke and mirrors.”

Victoria audiences will be treated to a stripped-down staging of the production, based on the Barry and Fran Weissler version that returned to Broadway in 1996. Kolenko says American audiences initially hesitated to embrace the dark cynicism of the story in the 1970s. But its relevance returned in the 1990s after the impact of the O.J. Simpson trial – a celebrity acquitted of murder.

In the 20 years since, the show has continuously run in New York, and toured in Japan, Russia and Latin America. Kelly and Hart have now pleaded their case to over 22 million people in 24 countries.

Chicago is now the longest-running American show on Broadway, was the longest running American production to be staged in London’s west end, and the story has been adapted three times (1927, 1942 and 2002) for film.

Of this version of the production, Kolenko says the simplicity lends itself to portray the incredible talent of the actors, the Bob Fosse-inspired choreography and the stellar script and score.

“That’s why this endures,” he says of the story. “It’s not something going in and out of fashion.”

Chicago runs Dec. 18 to 23 at the Royal Theatre. Tickets are available starting today (Oct. 27) at 10 a.m. at the Royal and McPherson theatre box offices or online at rmts.bc.ca.

kristyn.anthony @vicnews.com

Just Posted

Homeless campers of Namegans Nation head to Oak Bay

Roughly 30 members of roving tent city settle at Cattle Point in Uplands Wednesday

Sooke school registrations increase

New schools are needed but funding slow to come

B.C. moves ahead with speculation tax despite mayors calling for changes

Oak Bay mayor says he was hoping for a different outcome

Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen hands out free joints, seeds, plants

UPDATE: Pat Bay Highway traffic moving again after motorcyclist rear-ended

Three vehicle collision stalled traffic in southbound lane Wednesday shortly before 4 p.m.

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

VIDEO: Courtenay marks legalization by passing out free joints

Leaf Compassion celebrates new marijuana law in Courtenay

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Jusu adds hemp extract to the menu in Greater Victoria

Food and beverage product to be enhanced with hemp extract

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Most Read