The Kander and Ebb musical, which recently ended a lengthy run at the Shubert Theatre on Jan. 26 — to pave the way for the upcoming revival of Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters — will begin its open-ended run at the Ambassador with a 2 PM matinee. U.K. stage star Caroline O'Connor and Chicago veteran Belle Calaway will star as, respectively, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart. Kevin Richardson — of Backstreet Boys fame — will play slick lawyer Billy Flynn, and the remainder of the cast includes Roz Ryan as Matron "Mama" Morton, M. Agnes as Mary Sunshine and Rob Bartlett as Amos Hart.
O'Connor is currently making her Broadway debut as merry murderess Velma Kelly, a role she portrayed in the Australian production of the musical to much acclaim. Born in England, O'Connor's numerous theatrical credits include Man of La Mancha, Piaf, West Side Story, Bombshell, Cabaret, Me and My Girl, Is There Life After High School? and the aforementioned Mack and Mabel, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination. O'Connor appeared in the film "Moulin Rouge," and her solo recordings include "What I Did for Love," "A Tribute to Piaf" and "From Stage to Screen."
For her performance as Roxie Hart in the national tour of Chicago, Belle Calaway received a Helen Hayes Award nomination. She made her Broadway debut in The Will Rogers Follies and has also appeared in the national tours of Crazy for You, Woman of the Year, Applause and Bye, Bye Birdie. Calaway's regional credits include roles in South Pacific, I Do! I Do!, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Annie Get Your Gun, Can-Can, The Pajama Game and Dames at Sea.
Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, Chicago has become an international hit as well. In fact, Barry Weissler recently returned from the show's debut performance in Moscow. In a statement the producer said, "We are so very proud of the immense success of the show and the great audience support, both on Broadway and around the world. We look forward to bringing the 'razzle dazzle class' of Chicago to the Ambassador Theatre. We know that the Ambassador will provide a great home for our show for many years to come."
Chicago won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 as well as awards for actors Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, director Walter Bobbie, lighting designer Ken Billington and choreographer Ann Reinking. The original production was directed and choreographed by the late Bob Fosse. Chicago plays Monday, Thursday and Fridays at 8 PM, Tuesdays at 7 PM, Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 and 7 PM. Beginning March 31, the musical will play Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 and 7 PM. There are additional performances on Jan. 29 at 2 and 8 PM, Feb. 19 at 2 and 8 PM and no performances on Feb. 19 at 7 PM or Feb. 23 at 7 PM.
The Ambassador Theatre is located at 215 West 49th Street. For ticket information, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.