The cast of Broadway's Chicago will celebrate the second anniversary of its Broadway opening Nov. 14 with a noontime performance by Matron Mama Morton herself, Marcia Lewis, at the Times Square Visitors Center on Broadway.
Lewis (who will sing) and her fellow cast members will commingle with fans at the 12:15 PM event, where anniversary cake will be served. The event is free and the public is welcome.
Stars Brent Barrett (Billy), Ute Lemper (Velma) and Karen Ziemba (Roxie) were invited to join the party, but it wasn't immediately clear if they would don Chicago t-shirts with the rest of the troupe at the Visitors Center.
Lewis is the comic actress known for roles in Annie, Grease, Nunsense, Rags and Bye Bye Birdie. She'll perform the show's "When You're Good to Mama" at the half-hour gathering, according to Chicago publicist Clint Bond Jr. (of the Pete Sanders office).
The event is not part of the official "Big Broadway Lunch Break"series that began Nov. 11 with a Visitors Center event for The Scarlet Pimpernel, sponsored by The League of American Theatres and Producers. That series continues with Visitors Center performances by Smokey Joe's Cafe (Nov. 18) and Titanic (Nov. 25). Chicago, the lauded revival of the 1975 John Kander-Fred Ebb-Bob Fosse musical, opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre Nov. 14, 1996, and moved the Shubert Theatre Feb. 18, 1997.
The Times Square Visitors Center is on the east side of Broadway between 46th and 47th Street. For information, call (888) 276-2392 or (212) 302 4111.
On Broadway, the smash $3 million revival of the Kander and Ebb musical, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, has been a hot ticket since opening in 1996. The production, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking ("in the style of Bob Fosse"), began as a four-performance concert staging in May 1996 in City Center's "Encores!" series devoted to rarely-heard musical scores. A London company opened Nov. 18, 1997 at the Adelphi Theatre. Joel Grey, the Broadway revival Amos, recreated the role in London Aug. 17-Nov. 7, 1998.
There are two national touring companies of Chicago criss crossing the U.S. The "Velma" company currently (fall 1998) features Amy Spanger as Roxie, Donna Marie Asbury as Velma, Michael Berresse as Billy and P.J. Benjamin as Amos (though Joel Grey comes into the show as Amos for the Chicago dates). The "Roxie" tour includes Belle Calaway as Roxie, Stephanie Pope as Velma, Alan Thicke as Billy and Michael Tucci as Amos. Cast changes and rotations are frequent in the tours.
The Roxie tour has tentative dates booked through April 2001, including a month in Japan in February 1999. The Velma tour will go through June 1999. Consult Playbill On-Line's National Tours section for updates.
Upcoming tour dates include:
Merriam Theatre, Philadelphia Oct. 27-Dec. 6
Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA. Dec. 8-13
Auditorium Center, Rochester, NY Dec. 15-20
Arnoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati Dec. 22-27
Chrysler Hall, Norfolk, VA Dec. 29-Jan. 3
Kravis Center, Palm Beach Jan. 5-10
Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh, NC Jan. 12-24
Peace Center for the Performing Arts, Greenville, SC Jan. 19-24
Owens Auditorium, Charlotte, NC Feb. 9-14
Majestic Theatre, San Antonio, TX Nov. 10-15
Midland Theatre, Kansas City , MO Nov. 17-22
Shubert Theatre, Chicago Nov. 24-March 14 (Joel Grey returns as Amos)
There have been conflicting reports and rumors about a Miramax Films version of the musical directed by Nicholas Hytner starring Goldie Hawn (Roxie) and Madonna (Velma), perhaps to begin shooting in February 1999, but a representative of Miramax Films in New York told Playbill On-Line Nov. 12 there was no information about the picture, and would not confirm or deny Madonna or Goldie Hawn for the project.
Broadway revival cast members Neuwirth and Naughton won Best Actress and Actor in a Musical 1997 Tony Awards for Chicago, and Reinking won a Tony for Best Choreographer.
Chicago has music by Kander and lyrics by Ebb. Fosse staged it in 1975 and co-wrote the book with Ebb, drawing from an earlier play. Kander and Ebb's current project is Over & Over, a musical version of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, opening Jan. 6 at the tiny, 136-seat Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.