Football great Eddie George will star as ultra-slick and completely unscrupulous criminal defense attorney Billy Flynn in the razzle-dazzling U.S. Tour of Chicago that will put the roar back in the Roaring Twenties for five divinely decadent performances on May 12-14 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The 43-year-old Philadelphia, PA native previously played Flynn from Jan. 12, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2016 in the 1996 Broadway Revival of this show, which is the longest-running American Broadway musical of all time, with 8,507 performances as of May 7, 2017. (The longest-running Broadway musical of all time is that perennially popular 1988 British import, The Phantom of the Opera, which had racked up 12,182 performances as of May 7, 2017 and which will play an eagerly anticipated return engagement at DPAC on Feb. 28-March 4 and March 6-11, 2018.)
The original 1975 Broadway production of Chicago, which features a score by the celebrated Cabaret team of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, plus a cheeky book by Ebb and original Broadway director and choreographer Bob Fosse, 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 were nominated), Best Direction of a Musical (Bob Fosse), and Best Choreography (Fosse again). 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).
In preshow publicity, its Durham Performing Arts Center writes:
“Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart [played at DPAC by Brandy Norwood], a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously 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 [Terra C. MacLeod], by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer [Billy Flynn] 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.
“Eddie George makes his touring debut in Chicago following a successful limited engagement in the same role at the Ambassador Theatre on Broadway in 2016. Prior to taking the stage in Chicago, Eddie appeared in such works as Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man (Nashville Repertory Theatre), Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog (Amun Ra Theatre) and in the title roles of both Othello and Julius Caesar at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. His transition to the stage completes the journey that he began following the conclusion of his NFL playing career, which saw him providing commentary and analysis for the Tennessee Titans and FOX’s college football coverage.
“George won screen time in such TV series as NBC’s American Dream Builders and in such films as Best Man Holiday and The Game Plan. Since then, George has worked to refine his craft onstage, including not only the credits indicated above, but also work with his Nashville-based theatrical troupe, Actors By George, which he founded in 2012.
” Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995 while playing for the Ohio State University. That honor served as the prelude to a nine-year career in the NFL, which saw him lead the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV and selected to the Pro Bowl four consecutive years, finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys under legendary coach Bill Parcells.
“Since the conclusion of his playing career, George has additionally received his MBA from Northwestern University and founded Edward George Wealth Management Group. He resides in Nashville with his wife, Tamara Johnson, and his family. He is on the board of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville.
“The [current] national tour[, produced by Barry & Fran Weissler,] is directed by David Hyslop and choreographed by David Bushman. Walter Bobbie is the director of the original New York production, and Ann Reinking was the original choreographer in the style of Bob Fosse. Chicago features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design by Scott Lehrer. The production also features orchestrations by Ralph Burns [and] supervising music direction by Rob Fisher.”
SECOND OPINION: May 8th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh BWW TV interview with actress Terra C. MacLeod, conducted by Jeffrey Kare: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-TV-Terra-C-MacLeod-of-CHICAGO-National-Tour-20170508; May 5th Raleigh, NC Triangle Explorer interview with actress Roz Ryan, conducted by John Huisman: https://triangleexplorer.com/2017/05/05/chicago-brings-all-that-jazz-to-dpac-may-12th-through-14th/; May 3rd Burlington, NC Times-News preview by Logan A. White for “Teens & Twenties”: http://teensandtwenties.com/chicago-veteran-talks-learning-life-all-that-jazz/; May 2nd Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/entertainment/article148155744.html; May 2nd video preview: http://www.heraldsun.com/entertainment/article147950834.html; and May 2nd Durham, NC WTVD/ABC11 video interview with actor Eddie George, conducted by Amber Rupinta: http://abc11.com/entertainment/heisman-trophy-winner-eddie-george-starring-in-chicago-at-dpac/1944741/.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents CHICAGO, starring Eddie George as Billy Flynn, at 8 p.m. May 12, 2 and 8 p.m. May 13, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. May 14 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $25 and up. Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/844316.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/chicago-2 and https://www.facebook.com/events/651917898289451/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPzr3lIh5uU.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/broadways-tony-award-winning-chicago-welcomes-nfl-legend-heisman-trophy-winner-eddie-george-in-the-role-of-billy-flynn-beginning-may-12-at-dpac.
THE TOUR: http://www.chicagothemusical.com/ustour.php and https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/chicago-9942.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13th, performance.
Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville (1975 Broadway, 1979 West End, and 1996 Broadway revival musical): http://www.chicagothemusical.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/chicago-9942 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/chicagothemusical (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/ChicagoMusical (Twitter page), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_(musical) (Wikipedia), and https://www.youtube.com/user/chicagothemusical (YouTube).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Study Guide: https://www.scribd.com/document/257316466/Chicago-Study-Guide (Scribd.).
Chicago (2002 film): https://www.miramax.com/movie/chicago/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299658/ (Internet Movie Database), http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/439832/Chicago/ (TCM Movie Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_(2002_film) (Wikipedia).
Eddie George (actor): http://www.eddiegeorge.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/eddie-george-503325 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1261984/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/EddieGeorge27/ (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/eddiegeorge2727 (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_George (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)