Theater Review: CHICAGO (National Tour)

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by William C. on May 17, 2023

in Theater-Regional,Tours


Bandstand, shining lights, and sexy murderers in lingerie. Chicago celebrates 25 years of razzle dazzle with this national tour featuring the original New York production directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinkingin the style of Bob Fosse. With the bandstand as the centerpiece of this City Center’s Encores! production, this national tour has all of Broadway’s glitz and glamor.

Velma Kelly (Logan Floyd) and Company

This is a story as old as time. Roxie, a bored attention-craving housewife and small-time performer kills her lover Fred Casely in the heat of anger. Having failed to get her boorish but kind-hearted husband, Amos, to take the fall, Roxie lands in Chicago’s infamous Cook County jail with the possibility of being put on death row. Roxie meets Velma Kelly, a vaudevillian who spends her days plotting her return to stardom upon the expected acquittal of her own murder charge. The ensemble is complete with a buttery-voiced Matron “Mama” Morton, the well-connected queen bee who presides over the jail, and the greedy, sly, defense lawyer Billy Flynn. Pride, greed, jealousy, and, yes, murder are the name of the game in Chicago.

Velma Kelly (Logan Floyd, from left) and Roxie Hart (Katie Frieden)

Shimmy right on. The cast is fantastic, sexy, and talented. Our leads, Logan Floyd (Velma Kelly) and Katie Frieden (Roxie Hart), are both seasoned singers and actors. Their high kicks are on point, and their splits are perfectly flat. In addition to having legs that go all the way to Canada, their voices are strong and perfectly suited for their roles. I honestly could not remember the last time being genuinely enamored by national tour leads before this production. They are both phenomenal.


A sleeper crowd favorite is found is Brian Kalinowski‘s portrayal of Amos. The crowd cheered his every appearance on stage, almost without missing a beat. Towering over the whole cast, Brian stood out in all the beautiful ways with his humorous performance and jovial stage presence during “Mr. Cellophane.” Christina Well brought the house down with her performance of “When You’re Good to Mama.” I mean, that voice!! Enough said! The very handsome Jeff Brooks as Billy Flynn executes smooth dance moves, especially when accompanied by a fantastic dance ensemble. His techniques are solid, just like his portrayal of the egomaniac lawyer.

Brian Kalinowski as Amos Hart

I really have nothing to criticize in this production. Sound designer Scott Lehrer’s excellent work is cut in half because the cast uses good stage diction. What a novel idea! The band, led by a very charming director, Cameron Blake Kinnear, is fun, though occasionally really pushing the acceptability of tuning. Nevertheless, the band being the center of the set works well for storytelling and many pleasant kitschy moments.

Jeff Brooks and the Fan Girls

There is not much to it. It is entertaining as hell, and I would call musicals like this the equivalent of what the Fast and Furious series is for movies. You are not here for an evening of mental nourishment. Instead, you will be treated to camp, jazz licks, belting solos, and sexy dancers. So, go spend an evening and experience what Broadway is very good at.

Katie Frieden and the cast of Chicago

The cast also includes Michelle Attardo, Lincoln Belford, Cate Benioff, Megan Campbell, Tony Carrubba, Jess DiForte, Robert “Shapiro” Garris, Ed Gotthelf, Jasmine Janae, Tal Kedem, Liz Lester, Chase McFadden, Sammy Tuchman, Asher Van Meter, Evy Vaughan and James Vessell.

photos by Jeremy Daniel

National Tour reviewed at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa
ends at SCFTA May 21, 2023
for tickets call 714.556.2787 or visit SCFTA
for more tour dates and cities, visit Chicago The Musical

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