When a star and a role fit so well together, it's hard to tear them apart. So it is that Bebe Neuwirth, who returned to the Tony-winning role of Velma Kelly in Broadway's Chicago Jan. 19, has extended her current stint with the show. As reported by the Daily News, instead of leaving March 4, Neuwirth will stay till March 11, a spokesperson at the Pete Sanders press office confirmed (Feb. 27). Belle Calaway, a frequent returnee to the musical, also rejoined the company Jan. 19 and continues with the production as Roxie Hart.
Neuwirth, who won a 1997 Tony for her Velma, plays one of two Windy City murderesses who try to parlay their notoriety — and their shapely figures — into a career in vaudeville. The John Kander-Fred Ebb musical, conceived with Bob Fosse in 1975, was not a smash when first produced but found an eager audience in the post-O.J. Simpson Trial era. The musical revival is now Broadway's longest-running revival and one of the 25 longest-running Broadway productions of all time.
Clarke Peters is the current Billy, P.J. Benjamin is Amos, Marcia Lewis is Mama Morton, R. Bean is Mary Sunshine. The cast also includes Donna Marie Asbury, Jim Borstelmann, Gregory Butler, Mindy Cooper, Rosa Curry, Bernard Dotson, Mamie Duncan-Gibbs, Jennifer Frankel, Mary Ann Hermansen, Michael Kubala, Dan LoBuono, Jeff Loeffelholz, John Mineo, Gregory Mitchell, Michelle Potterf, Michelle M. Robinson, Tracy Shayne, Mark Anthony Taylor, David Warren-Gibson.
Ann Reinking choreographed the show (drawing on the style of Fosse), Walter Bobbie directed and Barry and Fran Weissler produce. Musical numbers include "All That Jazz," "Razzle Dazzle," "When Velma Takes the Stand," "Roxie," "We Both Reached For the Gun," "I Know a Girl," "Me and My Baby," "All I Care About is Love" and more. Neuwirth is widely known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Lilith of TV's "Frasier" and "Cheers." On Broadway, she took home the Tony Award for the revival of Sweet Charity, and starred in the revival of Damn Yankees, among other roles.
Chicago performances continue at the Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th Street. For $20-$90 tickets, call (212) 239-6200.