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‘Chicago’ gets scintillating revival at Drury Lane

Alena Watters, as Velma in a scene from  “Chicago” at Drury Lane Theatre.
Alena Watters, as Velma in a scene from “Chicago” at Drury Lane Theatre.

OAKBROOK TERRACE – Drury Lane Theatre has pulled out all the stops with its flashy revival of the prohibition-era musical “Chicago,” now onstage at Drury Lane Theatre under the sure-handed direction of William Osetek.

The production benefits from an embarrassment of riches, including showstopper songs, intricate dance numbers, eye-catching outfits and witty dialogue.

“Chicago” showcases music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. Roberta Duchak provides music direction, while Jane Lanier deserves credit for her inspired choreography.

Set in the late 1920s and based on a play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, “Chicago” gets off to a strong start with “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango” while maintaining momentum to the finale. 

“Chicago,” a blockbuster ever since its 1975 Broadway debut, features a talented cast led by the strong, expressive voices of Alena Watters as Velma and Kelly Felthous, as Roxie, fellow prisoners facing serious charges. 

Rivals Roxie and Velma are joined by Guy Lockard as Billy Flynn, a slippery lawyer  focused on all the fees he can collect; Justin Brill, Roxie’s clueless husband “Mr. Cellophane,” and Michael Accardo, as an editor of sorts who occasionally calls the shots from behind a desk on an elevated platform at the rear of the stage. 

Seasoned Chicago actor E. Faye Butler, in the role of a prison matron, makes her first Drury Lane appearance and delivers a knock -‘em-dead rendition of “When You’re Good to Mama.” Meanwhile, J. London is full of surprises with an unbelievable operatic voice.

Recurring themes in the fast-paced musical/farce demonstrate how easily its characters can manipulate the press, the judicial system and personal friendships during their relentless  pursuit of freedom or fortune.

Roxie, in particular, experiences a sobering letdown in the wake of her allotted  fifteen minutes of fame.

Kevin Depinet’s clever scenic design takes full advantage of Drury Lane’s stage. Sully Ratke’s costumes are sexy. And Lee Fiskness’s lighting design gets the job done as does Ray Nardelli’s sound design.

If you go . . .

‘Chicago’

Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Ln., Oakbrook Terrace

When: through June 18

Tickets: $45 to $60

Info: (630) 530-0111 or visit DruryLaneTheatre.com 

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