It's altogether too heavy to let the slender, foolish story breathe. Al Capone wasn't Hitler and Cicero wasn't Munich. In short, another time, another place, another—nonsensical rather than gloomy—world. Fosse, of course, is a man without peer when it comes to making navels undulate, hips quiver, toes stutter, white spats and white gloves create succulent patterns against the night sky. That's like making Leopold and Loeb scoutmasters! When a joke is wanted, it's most often a heavily underlined pun. Kander's pastiche rhythms pick up the beat of the period but scarcely more than that; where's the silly ebullience of the bobbing melodies that once made for happy heels? There should, for instance, he a potentially funny scene in murderess Verdon's first demure press conference, especially after some very??
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And without big expression, how do we get big belting and confetti? But the question for me has always been: At what point does the urge to overwhelm an audience swamp the sea walls of storytelling? Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss , who started writing the musical while students at Cambridge University in , mine plenty of humor from the anachronistic pairings and the catty contemporary byplay. Not so here. Directed by Ms. The wickedly smart lyrics are well set on tunes that are both catchy and meaty; the cast of terrific singers sells them unstintingly, straight to the joyful finale. After Chicago, it travels to Cambridge, Mass. It uses the familiar elements of the forms expressively, and in ways that creep up on you with surprises.
WHO would have thought there could be such bliss in being played for a patsy? In the pulse-racing revival of the musical ''Chicago,'' which opened last night at the Richard Rodgers Theater, all the world's a con game, and show business is the biggest scam of all. It makes a difference, though, when the hustle involves a cast of top-flight artists perfectly mated to their parts and some of the sexiest, most sophisticated dancing seen on Broadway in years. By the time the priceless Bebe Neuwirth, playing a hoofer turned murderer, greets the audience at the beginning of the second act with the salutation ''Hello, suckers! The America portrayed onstage may be a vision of hell, but the way it's being presented flies us right into musical heaven. This sharp-edged, self-defined tale of ''murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery'' received a healthy initial run in the mid's but very ambivalent reviews. Even with such mesmerizing stars as Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, swell vaudeville-pastiche songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb and the acutely stylish direction and choreography of Bob Fosse, ''Chicago'' seemed too chilly, in those days, to be truly loved in the way ''Oklahoma! Yet this new incarnation, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking who also stars , makes an exhilarating case both for ''Chicago'' as a musical for the ages and for the essential legacy of Fosse, whose ghost has never been livelier than it is here.
IT'S rare to find a picture as exuberant, as shallow -- and as exuberant about its shallowness -- as the director Rob Marshall's film adaptation of the Broadway musical ''Chicago. The fabulous bones of this oft-told tale have been picked over so often that there's no flesh left on them. But Mr. Marshall and the screenwriter Bill Condon get a terrifically sweet concoction out of this fabled skeleton. The movie, set in Prohibition-era Chicago, is tough, brittle fun -- a mouthful. Mercilessly adapted by Mr.