They Had It Comin': Chicago Turns 10 Nov. 14
By Andrew Gans
The Tony-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Chicago celebrates its 10th anniversary on Broadway Nov. 14 with a star-studded benefit evening that boasts performances by dozens of former Chicago stars as well as members of its original company.
Walter Bobbie, who won a Tony Award for his direction of the Chicago revival, also directs the one-night-only event, which begins at 6:30 PM. Among those scheduled to present Chicago in its entirety are Kevin Richardson, Ashlee Simpson, P.J. Benjamin, John O'Hurley, Obba Babatunde, Sharon Lawrence, Lynda Carter, Paige Davis, Bianca Marroquin, Chuck Cooper, Christopher MacDonald, Destan Owens, Tom Wopat, Ron Raines, Gerry McIntyre, Raymond Bokhour, Kevin Carolan, Tom McGowan, Ron Orbach, Bruce Winant, Charlotte d'Amboise, Caroline O'Connor, Chita Rivera, Brent Barrett, Rob Bartlett, Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields, Wayne Brady, Marilu Henner, Huey Lewis, Gregory Harrison, and Rita Wilson as well as original cast members Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton, Joel Grey, D. Sabella and Marcia Lewis.
In a previous statement Chicago producer Barry Weissler said, "It's an amazing testament to the genius of the creators, Bob Fosse and John Kander & Fred Ebb that our production of Chicago has played over 4,500 performances and will celebrate its 10th year. Every talented actor who has graced our stage for the past 10 years as well as all of our backstage crew and musicians contributed to the enormous success of Chicago. Not only has it been a glorious ride on Broadway, but its many international and national productions have proven that Chicago is a timeless show which audiences have responded to for its brilliant concept, book, music and dancing."
The performance and post-show gala will benefit Safe Horizon, "a victim assistance agency that provides support, prevents violence, and promotes justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and their communities." Visit www.safehorizon.org for more information.
The current revival of Chicago began life as one of the three annual Encores! presentations offered by City Center. About that evening, James Naughton — who created the role of slick lawyer Billy Flynn — told Playbill.com, "Every single number the whole night long, the audience roared back at us. They literally roared. It's the most wonderful sound I've ever heard in the theatre. And what became apparent that night, and what I thought at the time, was this audience is starved for this kind of performing. All that we're doing is the most basic kind of in-your-face performing. There weren't any falling chandeliers or helicopters. It was just what actors, singers and dancers do best."
Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, the musical opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Nov. 1996 where it remained through Feb. 1997. The musical transferred to the Shubert Theatre on Feb. 11, 1997, and played that house through Jan. 26, 2003. The revival reopened at the Ambassador Theatre, its current home, on Jan. 29, 2003.
Chicago won the Tony Award 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.
Chicago plays the Ambassador Theatre, located at 215 West 49th Street. For tickets to the benefit performance, call (212) 577-8291 or visit email@example.com.
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