As the OVERTURE ends, we're introduced to Velma Kelly -- a vaudevillian who shot the other half of her sister act when she caught her husband with her sister. Velma invites us to sample ALL THAT JAZZ while showing us the story of chorus girl Roxie Hart's cold-blooded murder of nightclub regular Fred Casely. Roxie convinces her husband Amos that the victim was a burglar, and he cheerfully takes the rap.

Roxie expresses her appreciation in song (FUNNY HONEY) until the police reveal to Amos that Roxie knew the burglar, shall we say, intimately, and Amos decides to let her swing for herself. Roxie's first taste of the criminal justice system is the women's block in Cook County Jail, inhabited by Velma and other merry murderesses (CELL BLOCK TANGO). The women's jail is presided over by Matron "Mama" Morton whose system of mutual aid (WHEN YOU'RE GOOD TO MOMMA) perfectly suits her clientele. She has helped Velma become the media's top murderer-of-the-week and is acting as booking agent for Velma's big return to vaudeville (after her acquittal, naturally.)

Velma is not happy to see Roxie, who is stealing not only her limelight but her lawyer, Billy Flynn. Eagerly awaited by his all-girl clientele, Billy sings his anthem, complete with a chorus of fan-dancers to prove that (quote) (ALL I CARE ABOUT IS LOVE.) Billy takes Roxie's case and re-arranges her story for consumption by sympathetic tabloid columnist Mary Sunshine, who always tries to find A LITTLE BIT OF GOOD in everyone. Roxie's press conference turns into a ventriloquist act with Billy dictating a new version of the truth (WE BOTH REACHED FOR THE GUN) while Roxie mouths the words. Roxie becomes the new toast of Chicago and Velma's headlines, trial date and career are left in the dust. Velma tries to talk Roxie into recreating the sister act (I CAN'T DO IT ALONE) but Roxie turns her down, only to find her own headlines replaced by the latest sordid crime of passion. Separately, Roxie and Velma realize there's no one they can count on but themselves (MY OWN BEST FRIEND), and the ever-resourceful Roxie decides that being pregnant in prison would put her back on the front page.

Back after the ENTR'ACTE, Velma cannot believe Roxie's continual run of luck (I KNOW A GIRL) despite Roxie's obvious falsehoods (ME AND MY BABY). A little shy on the arithmetic, Amos proudly claims paternity, and still nobody notices him, MR. CELLOPHANE. Velma desperately tries to show Billy all the tricks she's got planned for her trial (WHEN VELMA TAKES THE STAND). Billy's forte may be showmanship (RAZZLE DAZZLE), but when he passes all Velma's ideas on to Roxie, down to the rhinestone shoe buckles, Mama and Velma lament the demise of CLASS. As promised, Billy gets Roxie her acquittal but, just as the verdict is given, some even more sensational crime pulls the pack of press bloodhounds away, and Roxie's fleeting celebrity is over. Left in the dust, she pulls herself up and extols the joys of life NOWADAYS. She teams up with Velma in that sister act (NOWADAYS), in which they dance their little hearts out (HOT HONEY RAG) 'til they are joined by the entire company for the grand FINALE.

Plot summary by Bill Rosenfield (c)1997 BMG Music and have been excerpted from the Chicago The Musical Broadway Cast Recording, BMG selection number 09 Broadway Cast Recording, BMG selection number 09026-68727-2/4


 In the fall of 1995, when the enterprising City Center ENCORES! Series announced its spring season, there were some rumblings of resentment over the selection of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Bob Fosse musical vaudeville, CHICAGO, as part of the series. After all, in its short existence ENCORES! had produced concert versions of vintage musical from the '30s, '40s, and '50s, including ALLEGRO, CALL ME MADAM, OUT OF THIS WORLD and LADY IN THE DARK; shows that may either have been forgotten and might not be given full-scale revivals, CHICAGO wasn't really a show that was waiting for a re-discovery.

But there it was, and on May 2, 1996, CHICAGO played its first of 4 performances to a capacity audience that can best be described as jubilant. The starry cast featured Ann Reinking (who also choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse) Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton, Joel Grey, Marcia Lewis and D. Sabella under the direction of ENCORES! Artistic Director Walter Bobbie and Musical Director Rob Fisher. Critics and audiences alike watched and listened to a show that was so immediate and energizing that by intermission there was talk about moving it straight to Broadway. However, a staged concert with two weeks rehearsal and a full-scale Broadway production are two very different animals. What worked for 4 performances may have been the quality of a "theatrical event" that the audience experienced.

Enter Barry and Fran Weissler, the successful producer of shows ranging from OTHELLO starring Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones to William Finn's FALSETTOS to the hugely successful revival of GREASE!. After winning a bidding war for the Broadway rights to CHICAGO, they found themselves with a unique challenge - how to change the perception of the show from a fantastic concert experience into a unique and powerful total production of the show.

There was no doubt that the show itself delivered what a Broadway audience craves - gorgeous musical, astounding choreography and truly memorable performance for a cast of stars, but how do you tell the public that this show isn't just another revival? The answer is marketing. On Sunday, June 23rd, a large advertisement in the New York Times set the tone: this production of CHICAGO wasn't simply going to be a transfer of a successful concert. The concert was only the inspiration; this was going to be a new production of a show that was going to startle and provoke is by its sheet thrilling showmanship. In the next few months the ads became edgier and more provocative than the standard Broadway audience was use to experiencing. And that was the point. When CHICAGO began preview performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on October 29th, it was a concert no more - here was a fully realized, energized production of a great musical. Walter Bobbie and Ann Reinking had refined CHICAGO into a black diamond of a show - sharp, dark and dazzling. Instead of large scenic effects, the production was built around the galvanizing energy and personality of the performers and their songs. And the show was ready to deliver what the artwork promised.

The opening night on November 14 was nothing less than electrifying. Each number was a home run for the performers, and the audience's cheers kept the show's pace at a fever pitch. Broadway had rediscovered the greatness that is CHICAGO and embraced it.

The reviews, highlighted by a front page picture in the New York Times (local and national editions) were never less than glowing for every aspect of the production - the performers: "radiant" Ann Reinking (Stearns, USA Today); "sensational" Bebe Neuwirth (Kissell, Daily News); "commanding and funny" James Naughton (Zoglin, Time Magazine); Joel Grey's "pure show-biz electricity" (Brantley, New York Times); "simply fabulous" Marcia Lewis (Daily News); D. Sabella's "stunning voice and style" (Daily News); "the delightfully inventive" direction (New York Times); the choreography ("a reminder of a whole lost vocabulary of Broadway dance" - Time Magazine); the designer ("John Lee Beatty's witty evocation of a giant witness box in a courtroom...down to the last flesh-framing inch of William Ivey Long's sleek costumes, in shades of black and white, set off by Ken Billington's expert film noir lighting" - New York Times) and the orchestra under the "sublime" leadership of Rob Fisher (New York Times).

As for CHICAGO itself, the critics acknowledged that here was a show that had truly been ahead of its time ("A musical for the ages" - New York Times.) And as Vincent Canby said in his ecstatic Sunday Times review, "Even the Kander and Ebb score so suddenly revealed to be on par with - and maybe even better than - the scores for CABARET and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. Mr. Kander's music, which makes free use of Dixieland, rag, soft-shoe, and jazz jolts the senses one minute and a few minutes later, soothes then with harmonies of irresistible sweetness, which act as counterpoint to some of the most caustic lyrics Mr. Ebb has ever written."

It may have taken Mr. Canby and his fellow critics twenty years to fully appreciate CHICAGO, but better late than never. This production doesn't negate the original one than was so superbly realized by Bob Fosse and company - it celebrates the artistry that created it; the sheer guts and glory that is the American Musical.

1996, Bill Rosenfield




November 14, 1996


February 4, 1997

April 16, 1997

June 1, 1997

November 18, 1997

December 12, 1997


February 15, 1998

February 25, 1998

July 4, 1998

September 23, 1998


February 17, 1999

May 9, 1999


January 23, 2001

September 14, 2001

October 17, 2001


October 4, 2002

December 27, 2002


January 29, 2003

June 10, 2003

July 17, 2003


January 26, 2004

March, 2004

April 28, 2004


April 28, 2005

July 20, 2005


May 4, 2006

September 14, 2006

October 3, 2006

November 14, 2006



New York - London - Australia - Vienna - Sweden - Germany - Dubai - Holland - Argentina - Mexico - Russia - Italy

"Hervorragend," "espactaculo," and "astonishing"- Critics around the world have praised CHICAGO as the show the world has been waiting for. From Melbourne to Mexico City, CHICAGO has razzle-dazzled the world over with productions running in ten countries and two more set to open in Russia and Italy. The production has been played in 16 countries worldwide in over 250 cities. CHICAGO continues to be one of the most successful international musical hits of all time.

CHICAGO's international appeal stems from its enticing tail of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery-characteristics the entire world is drawn to.

Think of it the trademark opening number "All That Jazz" has been sung and spoken over 250,000 times in five different languages. The number has been performed with symphony orchestras, dance programs, Olympic ice skating routines and even for the President of the United States at the Inauguration of Bill Clinton in January of 1997.

CHICAGO even started a cross cultural star exchange with the Broadway debuts of Ute Lemper (from London), Ruthie Henshall (from London), Petra Nielsen (from Sweden), Anna Montanaro (from Germany and Austria), Bianca Marroquin (from Mexico), Marti Pellow (England and Wales), Caroline O'Connor (Australia) and Denise Van Outen (from London). These talented stars in their own countries were brought to star in the Broadway production by producers, Barry & Fran Weissler. Their Broadway debuts created a sensation of press opportunities and brought an International flavor and spirit to the American stage.


"If you'd been there, if you'd seen it. I betchya you would have done the same!" So declares the chorus to "Cell Block Tango" that the merry murderesses of CHICAGO affirm to an engaged audience. But the lyrics that the women sing are not far from the truth behind the real story of CHICAGO. Both the characters of Roxie and Velma are based on two actual murderers: Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner.

The real scenes took place in 1924 in Chicago when Beulah Annan (Roxie) was accused of killing the "intruder" Harry Kalstedt while Belva Gaertner (Velma) was charged with murdering her husband. Both murders become front-page stories in the Chicago Tribune when reporter Maurine Watkins realized the sensational appeal the two personalities could draw through her tongue-in-cheek reports. The supposed pregnancy used to speed up the trial, the sleek lawyer who helped define the media frenzy and the acquittal of both ladies sounded like a page out of Hollywood, when in fact they were actually real life. Tribune reporter Maurine decided to turn her experience with Chicago's famed murder-row darlings into a comedy titled
CHICAGO that reached Broadway in 1926. A film version was created two years later and a second film version, "Roxie Hart," starred Ginger Rogers in 1942.

These original productions of
CHICAGO eventually inspired the musical that continues to wow audiences today. Nearly 70 years after Beulah Annan rocked Chicago, media manipulation in the justice system continues to seem all too familiar, which explains why audiences are still captivated by the blunt tale of criminal celebrity.

The storied tale of
CHICAGO's rise from real life court drama to certifiable Broadway smash hit is one only showbiz can claim.



- Josefina Gabrielle (Roxie Hart)

Josefina trained at the Arts Educational school in London.

Her theatre work includes Nicholas Hytner's production of Carousel (the National and Shaftesbury Theatres): Dream Laurey in a national tour of Oklahoma!: Iris Kelly in the original London cast of Fame (Cambridge Theatre): Maggie in A Chorus Line (Derby Playhouse): Jenna in The Goodbye Girl (Albery Theatre): Cassie in a national tour of A Chorus Line and Laurey in Trevor Nunn's production of Oklahoma! (the National and Lyceum Theatres). The choreography was by Susan Stroman, and Josefina made history by being the first actress to dance her own Dream Ballet. For her performance she was nominated for an Olivier Award. She then went on to reprise the role on Broadway where she was nominated for Outer Critics' Circle and an Astaire Awards. She also plays Laurey in the film of the same production.

Other theatre work includes Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park With George (Leicester Haymarket Theatre): Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cannizaro Park): two other pleasurable visits to the Adlelphi Theatre as Roxie Hart in Chicago: Alexandra Spoford in The Witches of Eastwick (Prince of Wales Theatre): Cassie in A Chorus Line (Sheffield Crucible) and most recently, Kathy Seldon in Singing in the Rain (Saddlers Wells and Leicester Haymarket Theatres).

Her television work includes guest appearances in Sunburn, Heartbeat, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and the coming series of Born and Bred.

Cast recordings include Carousel, Fame, The Goodbye Girl and the Oklahoma! CD, video and DVD.

Josefina has also made numerous concert appearances, most recently guesting with the late, very dear Sacha Distel at the Cafe de Paris and with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a production of Chess in Concert, singing the role of Svetlana.

- Amra-Faye Wright (Velma Kelly)

Amra-Faye hails from the farmlands of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. She trained in classical ballet, and obtained a diploma in Contemporary Music at Allenby in Johannesburg.
Amra-Faye returns to the London stage having recently performed in the 10th Anniversary of Chicago on Broadway along with Anne Reinking, Chita Rivera, and Bebe Neuwirth, and after a run at the Ambassador Theatre on Broadway, opposite Huey Lewis. She is, to date, the longest running Velma Kelly having performed the role at the Ambassador Theatre twice on Broadway (2005/2006), and at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End (2005) and at the Cambridge (2006), also at the Civic Theatre (Johannesburg) (Naledi Award for Best Actress) and Artscape Theatre (Cape Town) (Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress), in addition to UK and European tours.

Other theatre credits include Sheila in a Chorus Line (Civic Theatre Jnb), Sandy in Grease (Jnb. Stadium Spectacular), Vi Moore in Footloose (UK tour),
Mother Superior in Nunsense (Sneddon Theatre, Durban), Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk (Guild Theatre, East London), Lead Lady in Elvis Las Vegas (South African Tour) (Vita Award for Best Actress), Lead Lady in Viva Sun City (Sun City Theatre)

Amra-Faye has written and performed many one-woman shows including; Rouge Pulp; Drinks on Me; and; It's not where I Start. (Vita Awards for all three)

Highlights of her career also include: Soloist for Spar International at Sun City Super bowl; and for the South African VIP Gala at the Sydney Olympics; Europride 2006 (Royal Albert Hall). She has also starred as guest artist in many world-wide Musical Spectaculars. She has recently recorded an album of her original material.


(Music / Book / Lyrics)

For Television: LIZA WITH A Z (Liza Minnelli); GOLDIE AND LIZA TOGETHER (with Goldie Hawn); OL' BLUE EYES IS BACK; BARYSHNIKOV ON BROADWAY; AN EARLY FROST; LIZA IN LONDON. Upcoming: THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH and STEEL PIER, with Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson.

John Kander and Fred Ebb have been writing together since 1965. Both had written with other partners, but their music publisher, Tommy Valando, thought they would work well together.


-May 11, 1965 - FLORA, THE RED MENACE at the Alvin Theater
-November 20, 1966 - CABARET at the Broadhurst Theater
-January 18, 1968- THE HAPPY TIME at the Broadway Theater
-November 17, 1968- ZORBA at the Imperial Theater
-April 15, 1971 - 70, GIRLS, 70 at the Broadhurst Theater
-June 3, 1975 - CHICAGO at the 46th Street Theater
-October 29, 1977 - THE ACT at the Majestic Theater
-March 29, 1981 - WOMAN OF THE YEAR at the Palace Theater
-February 9, 1984 - THE RINK at the Martin Beck Theater
-October 20, 1992 - KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN opened prior to Broadway at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London
-November 14, 1996 - CHICAGO at the Richard Rodgers Theatre
-February 12th, 1997 - CHICAGO Moved to the Shubert Theatre

(Co-Author, Original Director, and Choreographer)

A director, choreographer, dancer, and actor for films and stage, Fosse was especially famous for his innovative and spectacular staging, with the emphasis on exhilarating dance sequences.

Bob Fosse began his career in Chicago where he studied ballet, tap, and acrobatic dance from an early age. While still a teenager, he performed with a partner as the Riff Brothers in vaudeville and burlesque theatres. After graduating from high school in 1945, he spent two years in the U.S. Navy before moving to New York and studying acting at the American Theatre Wing. He then toured in the chorus of various productions before making his Broadway debut in the musical revue DANCE ME A SONG.

As a dancer, he performed in two long-running musicals, CALL ME MISTER and MAKE MINE MANHATTAN, followed by such Hollywood films as GIVE A GIRL A BREAK and KISS ME KATE.

As a choreographer, his first show-stopping number was Steam Heat from THE PAJAMA GAME. This he followed with such hits as DAMN YANKEES with Gwen Verdon, BELLS ARE RINGING with Judy Holiday, NEW GIRL IN TOWN again with Gwen Verdon, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING with Robert Morse.

He began his career as a director and choreographer with REDHEAD with Gwen Verdon, LITTLE ME with Sid Caesar, and two more Gwen Verdon musicals, SWEET CHARITY and CHICAGO. He also staged the innovative musical smash PIPPIN, the highly successful dance revue DANCIN', and the 1986 musical BIG DEAL.

For the screen, Fosse directed the films SWEET CHARITY with Shirley MacLaine, ALL THAT JAZZ with Roy Scheider, LENNY with Dustin Hoffman, STAR 80 with Eric Roberts, and, most spectacularly, CABARET with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey.

n 1973, Bob Fosse had the distinction of winning the three highest awards in three different media. He won a Tony Award for the musical PIPPIN, an Oscar for the film CABARET, and an Emmy Award for the television special LIZA WITH A Z.

In 1960, he married his third wife, Gwen Verdon. From that union came his only child, a daughter Nicole. During the Washington D.C. run of one of his most successful shows, SWEET CHARITY, he died of a heart attack. This occurred shortly before the curtain went up on the night of September 23, 1987.

(Author of the Original Play)

In 1926, Maurine Dallas Watkins moved out of the amateur playwriting ranks and into the Broadway limelight with her satiric comedy, CHICAGO.

After the great success of CHICAGO, Ms. Watkins was offered many commissions. She accepted only one. This was to adapt for the theatre Samuel Hopkins Adams' story REVELRY.

After REVELRY's modest 48 performance run on Broadway, Ms. Watkins never had another play on Broadway.

Maurine Dallas Watkins was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She attended Hamilton College, Indiana and Butler College, Radcliffe and finally to Yale for a session with Eugene O'Neill's and George Abbott's playwriting teacher, the legendary George Pierce Baker of the drama division.

After her formal education, Ms. Watkins decided that she needed more experience and closer contact with real-life. So she moved to Chicago and was hired as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Several of her stories took her to the criminal courts. There she gathered her material for the play CHICAGO. Convinced she needed more knowledge of the playwriting technique, she left the Tribune, returning to Yale and reentered Professor Baker's class. It was as part of her class work that she wrote the first draft of CHICAGO.

CHICAGO, produced by Sam H. Harris and directed by George Abbott, opened December 30, 1926 at the Music Box Theatre in New York.Maurine Watkins described her one hit play as "an honest attempt to say something I believed terrifically".


Walter Bobbie received the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Director for CHICAGO. He was the artistic director of City Center's acclaimed Encores! series and directed its premiere of FIORELLO!. Other Credits include FOR WHOM THE SOUTHERN BELLE TOLLS at Ensemble Studio Theater; DURANG, DURANG at Manhattan Theater Club; Andrea Martin's NUDE NUDE TOTALLY NUDE for the New York Shakespeare Festival; and A GRAND NIGHT OF SINGING at Rainbow and Stars and the Roundabout Theater, where it received two Tony nominations including Best Musical.

Mr. Bobbie is also an actor whose appearances on Broadway and off-Broadway include GUYS AND DOLLS (Drama Desk nomination for "Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical"). ASSASSINS, GETTING MARRIED, ANYTHING GOES, CAFE CROWN, DRIVING MISS DAISY, UP FROM PARADISE, I LOVE MY WIFE, A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FILM, the original GREASE, DAMES AT SEA, and the GMHC's benefit ANYONE CAN WHISTLE at Carnegie Hall.

Recent films include THE FIRST WIVES CLUB, Stephen King's THINNER and HBO's EDIE AND PEN, as well as television appearances on "Hill St. Blues", "LA Law", "The Equalizer", "Law and Order", "NYPD Blue", "New York News" and daytime's "Loving", where he portrayed both brothers Denny and Wally Anderson. He is also a frequent radio guest on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion".

Mr. Bobbie is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a Master's degree in Theater from The Catholic University of America.

Last season he co-authored and directed the new Broadway musical FOOTLOOSE.