By Karen Villalpando, 4/29/2010
Hotcha, whoopee, skidoo, and all that jazz. “Chicago” opened at the Pantages Theatre Wednesday night to a crowd hungry for jazz, murder and razzle-dazzle, and they were served up the real deal. Grammy winner and former “Destiny’s Child” member Michelle Williams turns in a spunky performance as the sweet, pixie-turned-murderer Roxie Hart with outstanding vocals and high energy.
Her co-stars, Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly and Brent Barrett as Billy Flynn, both lent nice vocals to the show, but it was MacLeod’s dancing that showed her star power. Carol Woods does an excellent Mama Morton belting out “When You’re Good to Mama”, even though her physical abilities seem a little hindered.
Tom Riis Farrell as Amos Hart is the quiet, scorned man, who suddenly finds his voice with “Mr. Cellophane” and has the audience cheering and applauding. (Costuming could find a better sweater for him, however.)
The surprise performance of the night came from R. Lowe as Miss Mary Sunshine. The notes the singer holds – and fluctuates – are amazing! Lowe delivers the lines believably and with aplomb.
The 2002 movie version of “Chicago” made the soundtrack and script so well known, many audience members were singing along with the cast. The stage version eliminates the elaborate costume changes in the movie, which I somewhat missed, and some of the choreography for the lead characters was a little lackluster. The ensemble cast, however, does an incredible job with the choreography and adds some humorous elements to the familiar dialogue. The show is upbeat, fun and highly entertaining. It’s only here for three weeks, so order tickets now by going to www.BroadwayLA.org. Tuesday though Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday at 1:00pm and 6:30pm. Ticket prices range from $25-78. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd.
For a great pre-theater cocktail, dinner or just an hors d’oeuvre, pop into Delphine’s across the street at the W Hotel. The menu is French Bistro, with a focus on fresh seafood. The bar is lively, and the atmosphere is light and bright. Stay tuned for a full review!