Caroline & Calaway to Make the Shubert-to-Ambassador Move in Chicago

News   Caroline & Calaway to Make the Shubert-to-Ambassador Move in Chicago When Chicago transfers from the Shubert to the Ambassador Theatre, U.K. stage star Caroline O'Connor will continue in the role of Velma Kelly.

Roz Ryan (Matron "Mama" Morton) and Rob Bartlett (Amos Hart) will also continue in their roles when the musical reopens at the Ambassador Jan. 29. Billy Zane and Charlotte d'Amboise, who currently play, respectively, Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart, will depart the production Jan. 19. Zane will be replaced by Kevin Richardson — of Backstreet Boys fame — and Belle Calaway, who has played the role of Roxie Hart on several occasions, will succeed d'Amboise, both on Jan. 20. Calaway is scheduled to stay with the musical through March 2, Calaway through April 13.

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.

Now in its sixth year, Chicago will play its final performance at the Shubert Theatre on Sunday evening, Jan 26, 2003. It will reopen at the Ambassador Theatre (215 West 49th Street) with a 2 PM matinee on Jan. 29, 2003.

* 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, now playing the Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street), 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.

For ticket information, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.