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Monday, November 10, 2014

Still Good After All These Years: John O'Hurley Stars in "Chicago the Musical"

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly and the cast of Broadway's Chicago. - PAUL KOLINK
  • Paul Kolink
  • Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly and the cast of Broadway's Chicago.

It's the musical that hardly needs an introduction (besides CATS). But in case you're not familiar with the show, the plot centers around prohibition-era criminals. Since its premiere in 1975, Chicago has played thousands of times, spawned a book and movie adaptation, and won six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and a Grammy — they must be doing something right. Now playing at SHN’s Orpheum Theater, Broadway’s touring cast is backed by music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, a group of chorus dancers (in choreography after the late, great, Bob Fosse), and full orchestra.

During the opening evening, the real treat of the night was the three lead actresses. With legs for days and a wicked smile, Terra C. MacLeod nailed her rendition of the malevolent cabaret dancer Velma Kelly. Equally convincing was Roz Ryan, whose acting range turned her Matron “Mama” Morton into a multidimensional prison officer.

And in the lead role of Roxie Hart, Bianca Marroquin — with her superb comedic timing and little impish mannerisms — has never made a cheating-wife-turned-murderess seem quite so appealing.
click to enlarge John O'Hurley as Billy Flynn in Broadway's Chicago.
  • John O'Hurley as Billy Flynn in Broadway's Chicago.
The cast is rounded out by former Seinfeld member (Elaine's boss), John O’Hurley, in the role of oily lawyer Billy Flynn. O’Hurley held his own next to the lead actresses, more or less adopting a Rex Harrison-style of speak-singing his way through most of the numbers. But ultimately, he is a character actor, and watching John O’Hurley John O’Hurley his way through a live performance offers few surprises.

So come for John O’Hurley, and stay for the women. Normally, audiences wouldn’t admit to loving a group of murderers, but the vile women of Chicago are just so damn charming, the final standing ovation was inevitable.

See these lovely lady killers presented by SHN and Barry and Fran Weissler in Chicago through November 16 at the Orpheum Theater (1192 Market St.). Tickets are $60-$210; call (888)746-1799 or visit shnsf.com
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Laura Jaye Cramer

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