Guest Blogger: Young Joc

I saw Chicago at the Ambassador
Theatre last Sunday night. Since it was
my first time seeing aChicago788248
Broadway musical, I figured I’d pick a reliable standby,
just so I could get a feel for what a proper Broadway musical should look
like. In any case, I’m really glad I
chose Chicago, because it was a fantastic show, with lots of energy, great
voices, and exciting dance sequences.
    I tried to
buy tickets about an hour before the show began. On a general note, I’d advise against trying
to buy tickets an hour before the show begins on a weekend night. It’s not a very smart thing to do. Fortunately for me, standing-room tickets
were still available. I don’t know if
all the Broadway theaters sell standing-room tickets, but to those of you out
there who know nothing about theater (like me), I’d suggest you always buy
standing-room tickets. They’re cheaper
than student-rush tickets (about $20 per), and you don’t have to actually stand
during the performance. You can walk
around and find an empty seat instead. Technically this is forbidden, but since they close the doors after the
show starts – and everybody (including security) is too busy watching the show
anyway – it’s very easy to find an open seat. Although it’s probably safer to buy student-rush tickets, when I watched
Chicago there were aisles of empty seat.
   
Anyway, the
show. Roger Ebert described Chicago as a
musical where the stories interrupted the songs instead of the songs
interrupting the stories. That sums up
Chicago neatly; it’s a long series of high-energy, glorious, frenzied musical
numbers that narrates through music and dance rather than through
dialogue. The story itself is a sharp
satire about criminals and the media/entertainment business during the Jazz Age,
where murderers and gangsters were sensationalized by a yellow-journaChicago_songleikur291lism
press. There’s a lot of clever irony
here, some of which is still resonant today.
    Musically, the singers and dancers
are all top-class. The choreography is
very energetic and fits the music perfectly, and all the singers were great –
especially Adriane Lenox, who swept the crowd off their feet with “When You’re
Good to Mama.” That isn’t to say the
performances are perfect. One of my
quibbles with the show was the over-the-top acting; Rob Bartlett, while very,
very funny, goes a little too far in turning Amos into a clown, and Michelle
DeJean turns Roxie into a demented pixie. Though the show was a lot funnier than the movie, it’s also much less
convincing from a dramatic standpoint.

The one
glaring eyesore throughout the entire show was George Hamilton. As Billy Flynn, he plays a central role in
the musical. Unfortunately, he couldn’t
sing to save his life – he had a range that went from A to almost B. Furthermore, he is not, as far as I can tell,
a very good dancer, and only a serviceable actor. I don’t really know what he was doing in a
musical.

All in all, I thought it was a very
good production, and I highly recommend seeing it.

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