Shows "C"

CHICAGO Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse: Music by John Kander: Lyrics by Fred Ebb Based on the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins Produced in London, 1979 and revised in 1997 46th Street Theatre 3 June 1975 (898 perfs) SYNOPSIS: In razzle-dazzle, roaring twenties Chicago, Roxie Hart, married chorine, murders a faithless lover. Roxie and a sister murderess, Velma Kelly, are both headline hunters seeking to capitalise on pre-trial publicity for the sake of acquittal and stage careers. The story is told through a succession of vaudeville acts: Roxie's pre-trial prison career, the trial itself in which she is defended by the slickest lawyer in town, and her acquittal and return to obscurity Chicago is a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery-all those things we hold near and dear to our heart. It is jurisprudence-as-showbusiness and trial-by-publicity. It is a tale of the sensational murderess Velma Kelly, the reigning queen of the Cook County jail, and Roxie Hart, the newest of the merry murderesses, who, of course, haven't really committed any crime (their men had it coming). Velma won't give Roxie the time of day, so she turns to the jailhouse matron for advice. For a small bribe, the matron tips Roxie to Billy Flynn, the legal Mr. Fix-it, who knows everything about women, juries, and how to weave sympathy into the press conferences he holds for his clients. As her mouthpiece (using her as a ventriloquist's dummy), Billy pulls the strings that make Roxie the new queen of the self-defence killers. Since no woman has been hanged in Cook County in 47 years, it seems only a short time until she can parlay all the publicity into vaudeville stardom. Roxie has bumped Velma off the front pages, stolen her lawyer, even her court date. Now, Velma tries to persuade Roxie to do a sister act. Remembering her treatment earlier, Roxie returns the cold shoulder. Roxie is a star, a single, until Go-to-Hell Kitty, the most sensuous murderess yet, comes on the scene. Roxie, realising she could quickly lose all she has gained, faints and announces that she is going to have a baby. Refusing to go along with the courthouse charade, an innocent girl is found guilty and hanged-breaking the 47 year tradition. Velma and Roxie both panic and plead with Billy to get their cases over with in a hurry. They are found innocent, of course, but at the moment of Roxie's triumph another woman shoots up the courthouse and steals all the headlines. Roxie and Velma shrug as if to say That's show biz and decide to salvage as much publicity as they can by doing the sister act-and all that jazz! STORY Act I Velma Kelly is a vaudevillian who welcomes the audience to tonight’s show (“All That Jazz”). Interplayed with the opening number, the scene cuts to February 14, 1928 in the bedroom of chorus girl Roxie Hart, where she murders Fred Casely as he attempts to break off an affair with her. Roxie convinces her husband Amos that the victim was a burglar, and Amos agrees to take the blame. Roxie expresses her appreciation of her husband’s willingness to do anything for her (“Funny Honey”). However, when the police mention the deceased’s name, Amos belatedly realizes that Roxie has lied to him. Roxie, feeling betrayed, confesses and is arrested. She is sent to the women’s block in the Cook County Jail, where several women accused of killing their lovers are held (“Cell Block Tango”); among the inmates is Velma Kelly, revealing herself to have been involved in the death of her husband and sister, though she denies committing the act. The block is presided over by Matron “Mama” Morton, whose system of taking bribes (“When You’re Good to Mama”) perfectly suits her clientele. She has helped Velma become the media’s top murderer-