All That Ute: Lemper to Appear Feb. 25-26 in Toronto Chicago Tour; Vegas Next

News   All That Ute: Lemper to Appear Feb. 25-26 in Toronto Chicago Tour; Vegas Next
 
Ute Lemper is expected to begin vamping it up as Velma Kelly Feb. 25 in the Toronto company of Chicago, joining Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, Ernie Sabella and Marcia Lewis.

Ute Lemper is expected to begin vamping it up as Velma Kelly Feb. 25 in the Toronto company of Chicago, joining Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, Ernie Sabella and Marcia Lewis.

But don't blink, or you'll miss her in Ontario: The troupe will jet off to Las Vegas Feb. 27 to prepare for its desert engagement.

A spokesman at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto said Lemper would appear in the final two days (Feb. 25-26) of the four-week Canadian run of the musical revival (performances began there Feb. 2).

The company's last Toronto performance is Feb. 26, earlier than usual so the set can be shipped to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas in time for its first preview Mar. 3. An official Vegas opening has not yet been announced, but Rivera, playing Roxie Hart, is the headliner and will stick there for six months.

Sleek Lemper, the German chanteuse who interprets Weill and Sondheim in her international concert career, left the Broadway company of Chicago Feb. 14 in preparation for Ontario and Nevada and was replaced in New York by original revival star Bebe Neuwirth Feb. 20, for five weeks only.

Lewis (as Mama Morton) and Lemper are expected to return to the Broadway production in the spring, after Chicago gets off to a splashy start in Glitter Gulch. Lemper created the revival role of Velma in London.

Bob Fosse veteran Vereen ("All That Jazz," "Sweet Charity," Pippin) joined the Toronto company Feb. 18, playing shyster lawyer Billy Flynn.

Displaced from the tour are Michael Berresse (who played Billy) and Stephanie Pope (who was Velma).

The cast will jet off to the Nevada desert Feb. 27 in time to see Tommy Tune in MGM Grand Hotel's "EFX" and to celebrate Tune's 60th birthday at a party, according to cast member Marcia Lewis, who has worked with Tune on a number of projects (Bye Bye Birdie, Grease).

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This revival of the 1975 musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb (originally co-written and directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse) is staged by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking "in the style of Fosse." In 1975, Rivera created the role of Velma and Gwen Verdon was Roxie Hart. The characters are murderesses in the cynical 1920s concept musical; the story is told in vaudeville numbers.

On Broadway, Neuwirth's colleagues at the Shubert Theatre remain Karen Ziemba as Roxie, Brent Barrett as Billy, P.J. Benjamin as Amos and Roz Ryan as Mama Morton.

Berresse (pronounced "buh-ress") was expected to begin rehearsals and star in a new Off-Broadway musical, Dancing in the Dark, but on Feb. 16 it was announced that show would not begin planned previews March 23 at the Lamb's Theatre. Berresse was to play a director choreographer who bonds with the ghost of Fred Astaire (to the music of Astaire-related songs).

The official Chicago website is www.chicagothemusical.com.

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