Roz Ryan Set to Make History in Broadway's Chicago
By Andrew Gans
On Oct. 21 Roz Ryan, who currently plays Matron "Mama" Morton in the Tony-winning revival of Chicago, will break a longtime company record with the most performances of any leading actress in that show's 17-year run.
The longstanding record for the most performances played by a principal actress is currently shared by Pippin's Charlotte d'Amboise (as Roxie Hart) and the late Marcia Lewis (as Matron "Mama" Morton), both of whom have logged a total of 223 weeks in the Broadway company.
On Oct. 21 Ryan will begin her 224th contracted week as Matron "Mama" Morton, setting a new, all-time record.
Ryan made her debut in Chicago in January 1999. Since then, she has returned to reprise the role in the Broadway company every single year; 2013 marks her 15th consecutive year with the show.
"Throughout the past 15 years, this show and this role have been such a tremendous blessing, and such an incredible privilege," Ryan said in a statement. "I've had the thrill of celebrating many milestones and record-breakings with Chicago over the years, but this is an extra special one for me. I am beyond grateful to Barry and Fran Weissler, to Walter Bobbie, to Annie Reinking and to the countless cast members, crew members and musicians with whom I've shared these past 15 years. And it's certainly not over, darlings -- the best is yet to come!"
Ryan has also starred as "Mama" Morton in several national tours of Chicago since 1997, as well as international engagements in Abu Dhabi and Portugal.
Her other Broadway credits include Scandalous, Ain't Misbehavin', Dreamgirls, One Mo' Time, The Pajama Game and A Christmas Carol. Her national and international touring credits include Annie, South Pacific and Blues in the Night.
She can currently be seen as Aunt Sylvia on "The Rickey Smiley Show," which airs Fridays at 9 PM on TV-One.
The Broadway cast of Chicago also stars Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Ryan Silverman as Billy Flynn, Paul C. Vogt as Amos Hart and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.
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.
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 Ambassador Theatre is located at 219 W. 49th Street.
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