Chicago: Brenda Braxton to return to the role of 'Velma Kelly'

Brenda Braxton is to once again step into the role of merry murderess 'Velma Kelly' in the Broadway musical Chicago, assuming the role from Nancy Lemenager, who will play her final performance on 10 Aug 2008.

This will be Braxton's eighth stint in the role, she first played 'Velma Kelly' in Mar 2003. Braxton holds the record for having played 'Velma Kelly' on Broadway more than any other actress in the show's history - over 1,200 performances and still counting.

Prior to Chicago, Braxton was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' (1995). Braxton's other Broadway credits include 'Jelly's Last Jam' (1992), 'Legs Diamond' (1988), 'Dreamgirls' (1981 & 1987 revival), 'Cats' (1982), 'Reggae' (1980) and 'But Never Jam Today' (1979).

In other casting news, Michelle DeJean and Carol Woods have both extended their run. DeJean will now continue in the role of 'Roxie Hart' through to 14 Sep 2008, while Carol Woods will now continue as 'Mama Morton' through to 26 Oct 2008.

Chicago has been playing on Broadway since 14 Nov 1996, it moved to the Ambassador Theatre on the 29 Jan 2003 where it is currently booking to 4 Jan 2009.

Chicago follows not your usual housewife, Roxie Hart, who gains dubious notoriety when she kills her boyfriend, invents her defence and manipulates everyone from her trustworthy husband to the fickle media and the unsuspecting public. The show features the well known songs, 'All That Jazz,' 'Razzle Dazzle' and 'Mr. Cellophane'.

Chicago currently stars Nancy Lemenager (Velma Kelly), Michelle DeJean (Roxie Hart), Tom Wopat (Billy Flynn), Carol Woods (Matron 'Mama' Morton), Kevin Chamberlin (Amos Hart) and R. Lowe (Mary Sunshine).

Chicago has music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, Book by Bob Fosse & Fred Ebb.

The musical is directed by Walter Bobbie, with choreography by Ann Reinking, scene design by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington and sound by Scott Lehrer.

Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording. It is the eighth longest-running production in Broadway history, as well as Broadway�s longest-running musical revival.

Originally published on

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