The 21st anniversary London revival of Chicago opens 26 March. And if you haven’t booked your tickets yet, here are five reasons why you definitely should:
1. Cuba Gooding Jr. is Billy Flynn
Academy Award-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. – of Radio, The People vs. O.J. Simpson, American Gangster, and Jerry Maguire (to name a few) – plays Billy Flynn: the lawyer who’s never lost a case. Gooding says he was raised in a theatrical family, so being in an onstage musical feels like coming home: “I know it’s going to be a powerful experience for me personally,” he predicts. And how about for the audience? Gooding has won an Oscar, for goodness sake. He’s a dynamic, energetic actor who’s more than capable of razzle-dazzling everyone in the audience at Chicago London.
2. Chicago is one of Broadway’s longest running musicals
Going on 21 years, Chicago is the longest-running American musical on Broadway. And it’s the second longest-running Broadway musical ever. (First place goes to Phantom.) If it’s been running that long, the show must be doing something right. Chicago has also won six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and a Grammy.
3. “All That Jazz” is iconic
“All That Jazz”, the show’s opener, is probably one of the most famous showtunes ever penned. In fact, Chicago itself is iconic. The music is catchy, the story is sexy, and it features some of the most famous choreography in musical theatre.
4. Roxie, Velma, and Mama Morton will be stellar
Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle, and Ruthie Henshall
Sure, Cuba Gooding Jr. is definitely a draw. But if a Chicago production doesn’t have good actresses in the roles of Roxie, Velma, and Mama Morton, forget it. Luckily, this production features three stellar musical veterans:
Sarah Soetaert (Roxie Hart) has an impressive line-up of West End credits: including roles in Cats, Fame, Kiss Me Kate, and none other than Chicago. In fact, she’s already played Roxie, so this is a chance for her to show off her chops and deepen her characterization.
Josefina Gabrielle (Velma Kelly) has been nominated for three different Olivier Awards. She’s also a former ballet dancer, which means she’s definitely up to the hard-core choreography Chicago calls for. Her most famous role may be Laurey in Oklahoma! opposite Hugh Jackman. She’s also played in London productions of Sweet Charity, Merrily We Roll Along, and (wait for it) Chicago! And she recently played Mrs. Teavee in the Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
When she steps into the role of Mama Morton for this production, Ruthie Henshall will be the only British actress to have played all three of the show’s leading female roles. It was her performance as Roxie in the original London revival of Chicago that earned Henshall her third Olivier nomination and the vote for “Most Popular Musical Actress of the past 25 years” by Theatregoers. She’s performed Chicago on both sides of the Atlantic. Seems there’s no one more qualified to be in the cast of this 21st anniversary revival.
5. People dancing in their underwear? All right!
Even if costume designer William Ivey Long originally decided on the underwear look because he had a limited budget, it’s now become iconic – just like the rest of the show. So if you want to see top-notch actors singing and dancing onstage in their underwear, look no further!
Chicago opens at Phoenix Theatre on 26 March. Book your tickets today!