Sunday, February 01, 2009

Razzle Dazzle

Last Sunday, January 25, the family took my uncle to watch "Chicago" at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts (the musical, not the movie or anything).

My uncle, being the head of the music department at Jeonju University, is somewhat generally in charge of the musicals and shows put on by his department. They've toured China and Korea and done all kinds of stuff, which I'm very vague about because I've never seen any of the shows. We thought that "Chicago" would be an educational experience for him, since everyone knows the broads in that musical need to be amazing dancers and solid singers.

I've watched the movie, I know the soundtrack by heart, but I've never watched the actual stage musical. I was really sick that night and inhaling cough drops, slightly woozy from all the medication, but I didn't want to miss it.

Blown. Away.

It's absolutely astounding, one of the best experiences of my life. I thought Catherine Zeta-Jones was good (Renee Zellweger, so-so, Richard Gere- terrible), but the entire cast that I saw on Sunday blew her right out of the water.

Velma was a revelation. Played by Terra C. MacLeod, she was brash and sassy and perfect. My mother leaned over to me during the first song (All That Jazz) to ask if they were lip-synching. My mother was a piano major and has seen plenty of shows in her life, so it's not her judgment. They were THAT GOOD.

Roxie was also amazing (so much better than Renee). Played by Michelle DeJean, she was giddy and silly and could dance like nobody's business. Her red hair might have been just a touch too brassy, but her ability to milk hilarity from every single possible moment more than made up for the bad coloring.

I really loved Mama Morton, who was played by Roz Ryan. Even when she came out for her bow, she didn't run out, she sauntered. She swayed, she strutted, but never rushed, either in her songs or her actions. I loved Queen Latifah in the movie, but Roz Ryan really embodied the character.

The only character I was not completely enamored with was Billy Flynn. He seems to be some sort of ... thorn. In the movie, Richard Gere's nasal, pinched voice made me cringe. Why didn't they just dub him?? In the musical, Jeff McCarthy was better than Richard Gere but still didn't quite have the chops or suave dancing to enthrall me. He actually took me out of the show for a bit, when I wondered to myself why he was cast.

Still, a great, great time. I actually wished it was longer!

Mary Sunshine ... oh, Mary Sunshine, why are you so fantastic?? One of the best audience reactions ever, worth watching the show for Mary's great moment at the end.

The band was amazing, the absolutely pristine set with only chairs as props was asterely impeccable, and I loved loved loved it.

I wish I had the opportunity to go to more Broadway shows! Maybe I need to take a Broadway trip and go to the real Broadway in New York. I've never been to New York ... but perhaps I could work at Blue Sky and work on Ice Age 8??