Russian Actress Larisa Dolina Will Make Broadway Debut in Chicago
By Andrew Gans
Celebrated Russian actress and singer Larisa Dolina will make her Broadway debut in the record-breaking, Tony Award-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Chicago in August.
Dolina will play the role of Matron "Mama" Morton for eight performances only at the Ambassador Theatre Aug. 13-18. At the conclusion of her Broadway run, Dolina will return to Moscow to reprise the role in the forthcoming Russian production of Chicago, which is set to open in October.
On Broadway Dolina will succeed Wendy Williams, who concludes her Broadway debut engagement Aug. 11. The cast also stars Amy Spanger as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Alexander Gemignani as Billy Flynn, Paul C. Vogt as Amos Hart and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.
"As the producer of a long-running show like Chicago, we've seen first-hand the benefits of continually cultivating our international audiences," said producer Barry Weissler in a statement. "Chicago is now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, and much of that achievement is thanks to the show's tremendous global reach. Practically every tourist who visits New York City has heard of Chicago. Not only have we played in 30 countries and in 12 different languages since 1996, but last year, we welcomed both Marco Zunino and Ryoko Yonekura to our Broadway cast, and the response from Latino and Japanese audiences was phenomenal. I'm thrilled that we're now able to present the stellar Larisa Dolina in her Broadway debut as 'Mama' Morton next month, and I'm looking forward to welcoming our Russian fans both old and new as well."
Larisa Dolina began her solo singing career in 1985, working with the Leningrad-based composer Viktor Reznikov. Soon after, she began to create and produce her own concert shows, including Zatyazhnoy Pryzhok (Long Jump), Kontrasty (Contrasts), L'dinka (Little Icicle) and Malen'kaya Zhenschina (Little Woman). As an actress, Dolina appeared in the films "Barkhatniy Sezon (Velvet Season)," "My Iz Dzhaza (We Are from the Jazz)," "Ostrov Pogibshih Korabley (Island of Sunken Ships)" and "Suvenir Dlia Prokurora (A Souvenir for the Prosecutor)." Her songs have been featured in more than 70 live action and animated films. In 2007 Dolina performed several George Gershwin compositions at the Gershwin Gala at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. In 2010 she played multiple roles in the musical Lyubov and Shpionazh (Love and Espionage), which was written specifically for her. In 2011 Dolina performed "Summertime" and "Wonder Where You Are" at a concert at Crocus City Hall dedicated to the songs of jazz legend Al Jarreau. Both songs were part of her most recent album "Hollywood Mood." Later that year, Dolina unveiled her new concert program, Sny extraverta (Dreams of an Extrovert), in Kirov. She spent much of 2012 touring with the new concert and reprising her role in the musical Lyubov and Shpionazh. That same year, Dolina toured the United States, giving concerts in Boston, Las Vegas and New York. Her numerous awards and honors include the Profi Award for Best Female Singer and Ovation Awards for Best Female Rock Singer and Best Female Pop Singer.
The revival of Chicago began life as one of the three annual Encores! presentations offered by City Center. The musical opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in November 1996 where it remained through February 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. Read more about the revival in the Playbill Vault.
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. The modern classic has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Ebb and Fosse.
The Ambassador Theatre is located at 219 W. 49th Street.
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