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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stage West Calgary: "Chicago"

Stage West Calgary

"Reviews Before Noon": 

Stage West Calgary

with Marisa McIntyre and Andrea Wingelaar

The Broadway revival is alive and well at Stage West Calgary, after confirmation with the latest effort, "Chicago".

Having seen popular prior hits like "The Producers" and "Dream Girls", I don't imagine "Chicago" will be any less appealing to audiences for this run. A visual collage of eye-candy and featuring ultimately familiar songs, this show is set in the 1920's, but surprisingly shows how far we have NOT come as a society, as it has so much relevance to how we see stars in the making today, and how they tend to own the daily headlines.

If you're unfamiliar with the storyline, the summary-in-a-nutshell is a couple of attractive murderers (Velma & Roxie) jockey for the newspaper attention their notoriety has afforded them, while also hoping to avoid the gallows. Imagine a Kardashian or a Hilton, but substitute a sex tape for the smoking guns...

As their story moves forward, a soundtrack that has been graced over the years by the likes of real stars such as Chita Rivera, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Bebe Neuwirth delivers knock-out performances of hits you will most likely find very familiar. "All That Jazz", "When You're Good To Mama", and "Razzle Dazzle" were just a few highlights that shimmered on the musical side, and exploded in dance with the tight choreography of Phil Nero.
One of the early Broadway shows that broke from traditional conservative fare, "Chicago" is filled with sexy costumes, risque language and behaviour, plus enough comedy to make the entire enterprise a load of fun.

Highlights? Well, leads Marisa McIntyre and Andrea Wingelaar own the stage. For myself, a high note for each would be Andrea as Velma nailing the blockbuster "All That Jazz". McIntyre's Roxie is beyond convincing in a puppet scene that is almost spooky. 

Beyond that, the star of Stage West Calgary's production (a few years ago) of "Glorious", Elizabeth Stepkowski Tarhan is another standout as Mama, bringing her character to life with gusto and one heck of a powerful voice.

"Chicago" is a morality tale, and a cautionary tale. In this production, Stage West offers amazing costumes and staging, tight dance sequences, and there is not one song that doesn't measure up - no surprise when you glance through the bios in the playbill. 

Now, before I run out of superlatives, I need to start working on my review for The Calgary Herald. I'll post a link once that's viewable online, and also plan my cast interview for my podcast series to link to that (and here) as well.

Check out "Chicago" while you can!!



Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Another great show indeed. How do they do such a physically-demanding show night after night like that? Especially the character of Velma. Incredible!

ThatDanGuy said...

Still humming those darn songs....