The popular group's songlist will be the basis for a new musical called Colour My World, named after a hit Chicago ballad (and perennial prom theme) from 1971, a spokesman confirmed. Richard Akins and his wife Janina are producing. Jeff Arch, a screenwriter whose credits include "Sleepless in Seattle," will write the book. Doug Katsaros is musical director. Akins hopes to open at a regional theatre in spring of summer 2005, then make another out-of-town stop before reaching Broadway.
The story will concern two friends and college fraternity brothers. One pursues a career in the entertainment business, the other becomes an artist, and each finds some disappointment in the fulfillment of their dreams.
Two dozen Chicago tunes will be used, including "25 or 6 to 4," "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," "Beginnings," "You're the Inspiration" and "Make Me Smile." Some songs will be used only as instrumentals.
Chicago—first called the Chicago Transit Authority before Windy City politicians nixed the use of the name—was formed in the Second City in the late sixties as an unusual fusing of rock rhythms and brass instruments. The large group featured trumpets, a trombone and saxophones. "Make Me Smile," released in 1970, was their breakout song, the first of a seemingly non-stop string of hits that lasted until 1976. The group, however, was never popular with critics.
Chicago stumbled in the late '70s with the rise of disco. The accidental death of one of its founding member, Terry Kath, due to a gun accident, was also a blow. It made a comeback in 1982 with the number one hit "Hard to Say I'm Sorry." Throughout the '80s, it put forth a softer style, less reliant on horns, and heavy on syrupy ballads such as "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "You're the Inspiration," voiced by Peter Cetera. Cetera eventually left for a solo career.