Never mind Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Bob Fosse put CHICAGO on the map. Maurine Dallas Watkins’ play is the least important element in the blockbuster Kander and Ebb/Fosse “musical” vaudeville. The story (“Murder in Chicago is a form of entertainment”) merely knits the snappy production numbers together and showcases Fosse’s flamboyant footwork.
Karen Fogerty directs and choreographs the spunky METRO STAGE production of CHICAGO (running through October 29th) and it does look like Fosse for the most part, with his signature splayed hands, inverted knees, slumped shoulders and suggestive pelvic thrusts.
Kander and Ebb outdid themselves with CHICAGO. Almost every song is a showstopper and METRO has a solid cast to deliver the goods. Right from the get go Lauren Gemelli hits “All That Jazz” out of the park as the gorgeous double murderer, Velma Kelly. Her competition for favors from Mary O’Donnell’s tough prison matron is Monica Abdel-Azim as the enterprising, two-timing Roxie Hart. Gary Ryan as Amos turns Roxie’s long-suffering husband into a sweet, albeit “invisible” schlub.
What lifts the METRO production into the stratosphere is Ben DiScipio’s entrance as the razzle-dazzle lawyer, Billy Flynn. (DiScipio looks just like a seasoned Boston pol, confidant down to his spiffy, three piece suit and his million dollar swagger.) His “All I Care About [is Love]” noticeably ratchets up the excitement on stage.
Never mind the uneven sound (some of the performers project and some don’t) and the mugging during the trial scene (a crime for pulling focus away from Billy), do pay a visit to METRO’s CHICAGO for DiScipio, for the lethal Cell Block Girls and for Gemelli, who can electrify a song, backflip, click her heels together in midair and not miss a breath. Now that’s murder!