One of the best movie musical I enjoyed next to Moulin Rouge!, Rent and Hairspray, Chicago finally opens its curtain to live audience in the Philippines. You are up to a fun, steamy and exciting treat as Velma, Roxie, Billy, Mama Morton and the rest of the inmates of Cook County treat us with total Fosse goodness.
Set in year 1920's during the prohibition era, the musical tells the story of a night club dancer named Roxie Hart (Bianca Marroquin) as she went on a bloody but funny revue of events as she fights for her freedom after committing murder. Instead of becoming an object of disgust, Roxie completely transformed into an overnight sensation headlining all newspapers and becoming everyone's favorite celebrity all through out the dark but glitzy city life of Chicago.
Ok first thing first, I want it to be clear that the movie is equally good as the live version. It is rare for some musicals to be as good or become better than the source material. I'm confident to say that the film adaptation did justice to the source material. However, there is a big distinction between the two. Aside for transforming the live performance into a cinematic masterpiece, one thing I noticed is that Chicago the Musical is originally intended to be a comedy. And Comedy and Fosse makes a good combination. The film on the other hand becomes too dramatic. Yes, there are funny moments but the tone of the film is generally more serious. To some, that may sound bad but for me it still works. After all, Chicago's grunge backdrop is better emphasized with drama. Another big difference from the film is the live musical only utilizes a simple and minimalistic set design as opposed to what I'm expecting because of the film. The set is inspired by night clubs or cabaret in the 20's complimented with a constant costumes of characters as cabaret dancers and performers.
We all love Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere and Queen Latifah from the film but you really need to see these fantastic stage actors that immortalizes our favorite Chicago characters. Let me start with my favorite -- Bianca Marroquin. Bianca is a Mexican actress who makes a Broadway debut in 2002. The crowd instantly fell in love with her as Roxie Hart. She is bubbly, loud and extremely perky. You may think she is the complete opposite of Renee Zellweger who played Roxie in the film well because the Roxie in the film and the Roxie in the live musical has different execution. Since Roxie is considered as the heart of the musical, it is just fitting that Roxie is as funny as the overall tone of the show. I loved watching Bianca dance, I like her spontaneous reactions to dialogues and she is just a natural comedian. Watch out for the "Me and my baby" segment because this is probably her best performance on the show.
Of course another crowd favorite is Velma Kelly, played by Terra C Macleod. Her performance of the iconic opening "All the that Jazz" and "Cell block Tango" together with the equally stunning and talented ensemble is to die for. Terra as Velma Kelly is sex, beauty and hot personified which is definitely one of the reason why boys (and maybe some girls) should check this out. We also have the powerful performance of Roz Ryan as Mama Morton who's pipes are just astonishing. Jeff Mccarthy also delivered a charming show as the District Attorney Billy Flynn.
Lastly, the show won't be as good as it is without the Theatre itself. Theatre Solaire proved that this new entertainment destination can live up to the expectations they promised to their patrons. Top of the line equipments, from lights and sounds. Special mention is the Constellation Acoustic System that creates a perfect acoustic atmosphere for Chicago the Musical.
If you want to enjoy a musical that can satisfy all your senses, this is definitely the one for you. Chicago the musical will run until the 21st at the Theatre Solaire, Solaire Resorts, Pasay City. For tickets call 8919999 or visit Ticketworld website. For more inquiries about the show, you can reach Concertus Manila at 403-8678 or like their Facebook account. Jazz up your Holidays with Roxie and Velma, watch Chicago the Musical and see you all at the Theatre.