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This “Chicago” will Blow You Away – Downriver Actors Guild (Review) January 22, 2017

Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
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Downriver Actors Guild is on a roll — now comes Kander and Ebb’s great musical Chicago, a rollicking good time in a spectacular production directed by Denny Connors and Choreographed by Betsy Genrich, with Musical Direction by Melanie Aue. This is not-to-be-missed musical theater brought to you by way of our friends in Wyandotte.

Both Paige Wisniewski and Spencer Genrich are remarkable in their roles of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly respectively. They sing, dance, crack jokes, and entertain in number after number and still have energy to spare for the synchronized fosse-esque “Hot Honey Rag” finale. Note that this production uses the revisal script still currently running on Broadway and on tour. Brava.

Leo McMaster is a dashing Billy Flynn and Lucinda Chavez is a hilarious Mama Morton. But wait, there’s a super-surprise in store for you later when Samuel Xavier lets loose in “Mr. Cellophane” as Amos Hart. His performance is downright amazing. Welcome home, Sam.

The entire ensemble is super-charged, and the choreography and vocal work is excellent. There are no mis-steps here, and the show simply sounds and looks spectacular. Credit also Joel Bias for the terrific lighting and sound. Costumes by Debbie Aue and Rebecca McKinney look spot-on, and the on-stage band couldn’t be better under the direction of David Waggoner.

Everything moves at lighting pace – and Connors and Genrich understand how to keep it all moving. This is entertainment, originally billed as a “new musical vaudeville” in 1975. Updated for audiences used to faster pace and higher thrills, the revisal ramps up the dance, the jokes, and the flash. But all the familiar songs are there — “All that Jazz”, “Nowadays”, “Give Em the Old Razzle Dazzle” — And dazzle us they do.

This is a production that you simply should not miss. Tickets, probably sparse at this point, are available online at downriveractorsguild.net – don’t hesitate. Chicago runs through January 29th at The Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte.

Very Highest Recommendation

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