Mexican actress Bianca Marroquin has replaced ailing 58-year-old supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley as former showgirl-turned-sexy jazz slayer Roxie Hart, who shoots her boyfriend three times when he tries to dump her and then tries to convince her husband to take the blame, in the national tour of legendary director and choreographer Bob Fosse‘s Roaring Twenties musical, Chicago, which will play the Durham Performing Arts Center on July 31-Aug. 5. A 37-year-old Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico native, Marroquin made her Broadway debut in 2002 as Roxie Hart, and is currently playing that role in the show’s Broadway production. She also starred as Roxie Hart when Broadway Series South brought the national tour of Chicago to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 2-7, 2008.
The touring version of Chicago that will play eight performances at DPAC is based on the award-winning 1996 Broadway revival of the show, which was directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse by Ann Reinking, whose work is faithfully recreated on tour by director Scott Faris and choreographer Gary Chryst. This “Musical Vaudeville,“ which is set in Chicago at the end of the 1920s, features music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and a book by Ebb and original director/choreographer Bob Fosse, based on Maurine Dallas Watkins‘ vintage comedy Chicago (1927).
Besides Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, the tour stars Amra-Faye Wright as former vaudevillian and nightclub singer Velma Kelly, whom Roxie‘s headline-grabbing crime makes yesterday‘s news; and Tony Yazbeck as Velma‘s high-priced Windy City criminal defense attorney Billy Flynn, who puts Velma‘s case on the backburner while he gin ups favorable publicity for Roxie.
Ron Orbach plays Roxie‘s sad-sack husband Amos Hart (a.k.a. “Mr. Cellophane“); Brent Heuser adds a crisp cameo as Roxie‘s no good rat of a boyfriend Fred Casely; Roz Ryan is terrific as corrupt Cook County Jail matron “Mama“ Morton; and R. Lowe portrays sobsister Mary Sunshine, a gullible newspaper columnist who eagerly swallows Flynn‘s latest lies neat, with no chaser.
According to the Durham Performing Arts Center:
“Due to illness and upon advisement from her doctor, Christie Brinkley is unable to perform the role of Roxie Hart this week in Durham and will return to New York to recover. Christie is very disappointed as she was looking forward to playing the Durham Performing Arts Center in Chicago: The Musical.
“Producer Barry Weissler said, ‘The Durham audience deserves nothing but the best. I pulled Bianca Marroquin, one of our very best Roxies, from her Broadway performance and put her on the first flight out to North Carolina for the week. The show goes on!’
“Marroquin [first] stepped into the role in 2002. Other credits include In the Heights and The Pajama Game on Broadway. Additionally, she won the 2004 Helen Hayes Award for the Chicago National Tour.
The original Broadway production of Chicago earned ten 1976 Tony Award® nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Jerry Orbach as Billy Flynn), Best Actress in a Musical (both Chita Rivera as Velma Kelly and Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart), Best Direction of a Musical (Bob Fosse), and Best Choreography (Fosse). But it took home no Tonys.
By contrast, the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago received eight 1997 Tony Award® nominations and won six Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Walter Bobbie), Best Choreography (Ann Reinking), Best Actor in a Musical (James Naughton as Billy Flynn), and Best Actress in a Musical (Bebe Neuwirth as Velma Kelly). It also won the 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical.
The vivacious 2002 motion-picture version of Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall, starred Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, and Richard Gere as Billy Flynn. It received thirteen 2003 Academy Award® nominations and won six Oscars, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
The Durham Performing Arts Center also writes:
“Now in its 16th glorious year of girls, glitz, and glamour on the Great White Way, the record-breaking smash hit musical Chicago is now the fourth longest-running production in Broadway history.
“With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.
“Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago‘s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today‘s tabloids.
“Directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony Award winner Ann Reinking, Chicago features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, and sound design by Scott Lehrer.“
SECOND OPINION: Aug. 1st Raleigh, NC News & Observer article: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/01/2236555/illness-forces-christie-brinkley.html and July 27th interview with Christie Brinkley, conducted by Betsy Church: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/26/2220250/christie-brinkley-strikes-a-new.html; Aug. 1st Raleigh, NC WRAL.com “Out & About” blog by Kathy Hanrahan: http://www.wral.com/entertainment/out_and_about/blogpost/11377001/; Aug. 1st Raleigh, NC Triangle Arts and Entertainment review by Susie Potter: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2012/08/chicago-razzle-dazzles-at-dpac/; and Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/19587129/article-Christie-Brinkley-makes-her-parents-proud? (Note: You may have to register to read this article).
Durham Performing Arts Center presents CHICAGO, starring Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, at 7:30 p.m. July 31-Aug. 2, 8 p.m. Aug. 3, 2 and 8 p.m. Aug. 4, and 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $25-$95 (including fees), except $11 Student Rush Tickets (limit 2) to the day of the performance to students with valid ID.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/844316.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services/broadway_group_pricing.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRQHBGDdqjM&feature=youtu.be&hd=1.
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
The U.S. Tour: http://www.chicagothemusical.com/ustour.php (official web page).
The Film: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/439832/Chicago/ (TCM Movie Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_(2002_film) (Wikipedia), and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299658/ (Internet Movie Database).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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