Producer Barry Weissler — who, with wife Fran and Kardana/Hart Sharp Entertainment, bankrolled the current Broadway revival of the musical — told Variety that a new tour will be launched this summer to capitalize on the hit Miramax film, which recently garnered 13 Academy Award nominations. Weissler told the industry paper, "If the movie had opened weak, that would have hurt us. But it opened very strong and that was a big help. Might as well take advantage of that by going out again."
Broadway's Chicago — now at the Ambassador Theatre — has also benefited from the movie's positive reception; box-office figures have risen significantly since the Rob Marshall-directed film opened.
A spokesperson for Chicago confirmed that a tour is being planned, although "no dates or cast are announced as of yet." The first national tour of Chicago was launched March 25, 1997, at Cincinnati's Aronoff Center. That production starred Charlotte D'Amboise, Jasmine Guy and Obba Babatunde.
Chicago won the Tony Award 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.
The current Broadway company features U.K. stage star Caroline O'Connor and Chicago veteran Belle Calaway as, respectively, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart. Kevin Richardson — of Backstreet Boys fame — plays slick lawyer Billy Flynn, with Roz Ryan as Matron "Mama" Morton, M. Agnes as Mary Sunshine and Rob Bartlett as Amos Hart. *
Chicago plays the Ambassador Theatre 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 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.