Chicago celebrates 15 years on Broadway

Chicago celebrates 15 years on Broadway The six-time Tony Award winning musical Chicago - the longest musical revival in Broadway history - celebrates its 15th anniversary on the Great White Way on 14 Nov 2011. Producer Barry Weissler, "What an incredible year of milestones this has been! ...In March, we broke the record to become the fifth-longest running show in Broadway history. Then in August, we surpassed 'A Chorus Line' to become the fourth longest-running, and in that same moment we became the longest-running American show in Broadway history. Now in November, we celebrate 15 years." Chicago began life in 1996 as an Off-Broadway NY City Center 'Encores! production. 'Encores! Great American Musicals' is a series of concert musicals held each year that provides an opportunity for musical lovers to see musicals that are rarely performed in New York City. The Encore production was directed by Walter Bobby, choreographed by Ann Reinking and starred Ann Reinking as 'Roxie Hart', Bebe Neuwirth as 'Velma Kelly', Joel Grey as 'Amos Hart' and James Naughton as 'Billy Flynn.' Such was the reception the Encore production received, that before the concert version had finished its short run the decision was already taking to bring the musical to Broadway, which producers Barry and Fran Weissler did in Oct 2006. The show transferred to Broadway - with its principal cast - on 23 Oct 1996 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where it opened on 13 Nov 1996. Chicago opened to critical acclaim and won six Tony Awards: Best Musical revival; Best Actor in a Musical (James Naughton); Best Actress in a Musical (Bebe Neuwirth); Best Choreography (Ann Reinking); Best Direction of a Musical (Walter Bobbie) and Best Lighting Design (Ken Billington). During its run Chicago has played at three theatres: Richard Rodgers Theatre (14 Nov 1996 - 9 Feb 1997); Shubert Theatre, (11 Feb 1997 - 26 Jan 2003) and its current home Ambassador Theatre, (29 Jan 2003 - Present). The show's original cast recording was released on 28 Jan 1997 and won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. 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 Bahiyah Hibah (Velma Kelly), Charlotte d'Amboise (Roxie Hart), John O'Hurley (Billy Flynn), Carol Woods (Mama Morton), Chris Sullivan (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.

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