Chicago Dazzles at PPAC

 

18268343_10154657621073380_7614610210746750669_nChicago is a musical with a lot of punch. This sizzling production with songs by the famed composers Kander and Ebb tells the tale of vixens Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly in the world of 1920s Chicago.

Roxie shoots her no-good lover and hires hotshot attorney Billy Flynn to defend her in court. While in prison, Roxie earns the jealousy of hard-bitten Velma, who once had a successful show business career before ending up behind bars.

Dylis Croman brought an appealing mix of sexiness and vulnerability to Roxie, who becomes intoxicated by fame. Terra C. MacLeod was every bit Croman’s match as Velma, who showed plenty of grit and determination in an effort to regain her place in the spotlight. John O’Hurley, best known for his role on “Seinfeld” as J. Peterman, gets star billing in this production for his role as Flynn, although he doesn’t appear until well into the first act. O’Hurley plays the role in an amusing tongue-in-cheek way and looks great in a tux. The suave and ultra-confident barrister is clearly having a blast while surrounded by a troupe of lingerie-clad women holding these huge feather fans.

Roz Ryan is a lot of fun as the sassy prison matron, Mama Morton. Ryan and MacLeod were charming on the ballad “Class,” a lament of our society’s deteriorating manners. The song takes on extra significance when you consider who is currently sitting in the Oval Office. Paul Vogt was gregarious and charming as Roxie’s beleaguered husband, Amos, who sings about his invisibility in the sweet “Mister Cellophane.”

Chicago has terrific music and dancing, but also is a sly commentary on our celebrity-crazed culture.  Billy Flynn is a lawyer who basks in his notoriety, as does Roxie and Velma. They are murderers and the public loves them.

There weren’t any sets for the show, but the orchestra appeared onstage and provided an effective backdrop for the action.

With the beautiful women, hunky male dancers and superb choreography, this is a show with plenty of razzle-dazzle.

CHICAGO runs through May 7. Providence Performing Arts Center. For tickets, go online at ppacri.org or by phone at 401-421-ARTS (2787).

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