A cast member of the New York production of Chicago informed Playbill On-Line earlier this week that Rivera, who starred opposite Gwen Verdon in the original production of the Kander and Ebb musical in 1975, is currently in negotiations to head the cast of the Las Vegas company. What's even more interesting is that Rivera will portray Roxie Hart, the role Verdon created, rather than Velma Kelly, the role she originated over 20 years ago.
Marcia Lewis, who received a Tony nomination for her work as Matron "Mama" Morton in the current revival, is scheduled to join Rivera in Las Vegas as well.
A spokesperson for Chicago's national tours (reached Dec. 23) would say only that an announcement regarding Chicago would be forthcoming in mid-January. No further information would be given until that time. However, a Rivera spokesperson at the William Morris Agency confirmed that the actress is in negotiations for the Vegas mounting. "The deal isn't closed yet," said the source. "She had wanted to bring Chita and All That Jazz to Broadway, but there are no musical houses available. So we thought that while she's waiting, this [Chicago] would be worthwhile."
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. For Broadway ticket information, call (888) 276-2392 or (212) 302- 4111.
The smash $3 million revival of the Kander and Ebb musical, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, has been a hot ticket since its opening. 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. He's now in the Velma Company currently playing Chicago's Shubert Theatre through March 14, 1999
There are two national touring companies of Chicago criss-crossing the U.S. 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:
Aranoff 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. 12-17
Peace Center for the Performing Arts, Greenville, SC Jan. 19-24
Playhouse in Wilmington, DE Jan. 25-Feb. 7
Owens Auditorium, Charlotte, NC Feb. 9-14
Shubert Theatre, Chicago Nov. 24-March 14 (Joel Grey returns as Amos)
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.
The first Broadway production starred Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach.