A little bit of the ol' "Razzle Dazzle" dims in glittering Las Vegas Feb. 27, when the sitdown revival of Chicago, a year-long hit at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, ends it run, days before a one-year anniversary.
The staging of the hit Broadway revival at the new resort complex in Nevada is actually an extended stay by the so-called "Velma" national tour, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler. Performances began March 3, 1999, starring Chita Rivera, Ute Lemper, Marcia Lewis, Ernie Sabella and Ben Vereen. The current company stars Vicki Lewis, Nana Visitor, Roz Ryan, Gregory Jbara and P.J. Benjamin.
By Sunday, the Vegas Chicago will have compiled 416 desert performances. The performance count for the run of that tour is more than 890.
The separate "Roxie" national tour continues its travels through North America, with Alan Thicke as Billy Flynn.
What's next at the Mandalay Bay Theatre? "For now, they are going with headliners," said spokesman David Kirvin. "I believe they will return to a musical if they can find the right one."
Bringing the starry, Tony Award-winning Chicago to the desert helped earn Mandalay Bay attention in its first year. The resort's doors opened March 2, 1999, with Chicago previews beginning March 3. The show was not trimmed or altered for the Vegas engagement, representing a change in the tradition of casino resort shows.
When Rivera played the show in 1999, she took on the role of murderess Roxie Hart rather than Velma Kelly, the part she created in the 1975 original staging on Broadway.
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