'Chicago' tweaks its glare until showtime

Minutes after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Walter Bobbie, the director of the longtime Broadway revival of “Chicago,” entered the Ambassador Th...


Minutes after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Walter Bobbie, the director of the longtime Broadway revival of “Chicago,” entered the Ambassador Theater stage. He didn’t even get a chance to speak until the crowd got up, clapping, shouting and cheering.

The ovation lasted almost two minutes.

“Sit down,” Bobbie said finally. “Isn’t that an amazing way to celebrate a 25th anniversary? Oh my God!”

And the standing ovations were repeated, over and over, throughout the first act of a show whose return to the stage felt like catharsis after 18 months of darkened Broadway.

The cast and crew had continued to tweak details until the opening, picking up notes from the final dress rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon.

“Act two: Bianca, you’re ahead with your ‘Hello, suckers’,” Greg Butler, the associate choreographer, told Bianca Marroquín, who played Velma Kelly. He asked her to step off the stage and perform. try the entry again.

“Hello, suckers!” said Marroquín a moment later.

“Fierce, that’s how we do it,” replied Butler.

And with that, the cast of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s longtime musical “Chicago,” got back to business.

“Eighteen months is a lot,” said Marroquín, who had played Roxie Hart before playing Velma, in an interview, exiting the stage to sit in the empty auditorium. “Everyone went through a lot of trauma and anxiety, and it wasn’t easy for us. Life goes boom-boom and takes the stage. It was hard.

She spoke about the emotions of being back. “This is what we do,” she said. “Without it, our life has sort of darkened.”

Now “Chicago,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Broadway this year, is waiting to see what its next chapter will look like. Tourists, who make up two-thirds of the overall Broadway audience, are especially important to “Chicago.” One of the big unanswered questions is when (or if) they will start to come back in droves.

“We are definitely a tourist-oriented show,” said Bobbie. “We will find out. When you’re over 10, New Yorkers who want to see the show have seen it. “

One of those in attendance for Tuesday’s opening performance was longtime New Yorker Peter Massaro, who paid $ 250 for a premium Mastercard package that included dinner and a meeting with the cast members. (“I’m still shaking,” he said afterward.)

Massaro first saw “Chicago” 20 years ago. “I haven’t seen him since,” he said. “I am a big fan of Bob Fosse. It’s a great show from start to finish. Dancing alone.

Massaro, who wore a rhinestone bow tie for the Broadway comeback, said he had no concerns about seeing a show in the midst of a pandemic. “They are checking the vaccines and the masks,” he said. “People are respectful of this, especially in the Broadway community.”

There were reasons to be optimistic. Holly Armitage and her husband, Albert, who live in Kansas City, Kansas, have for years used to travel to New York for shows. She jumped in to book flights as soon as she heard Broadway was reopening.

“I thought it would be the first night on Broadway,” she said at the reopening of “Chicago”. “I realize now that some things have already opened. “

And “Chicago” isn’t the only show on their schedule. “We’re seeing ‘The Lion King’ tomorrow,” she said, adding that they would return later this month for “Moulin Rouge! The musical.

Will foreigners start to come back to New York? “Oh absolutely,” she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 'Chicago' tweaks its glare until showtime
'Chicago' tweaks its glare until showtime
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