Chicago Preview

by: Zach Winslett



Photos by: Visarut Pawawongsak

Troy’s Department of Theatre and Dance is readying to “razzle and dazzle” on-campus audiences with its impressive female performers in “Chicago.”

The musical centers on two murderesses, Velma Kelly (Grace Bailey) and Roxie Hart (Kara McDowell), vying for infamy, attention and freedom.

Billy Flynn (Quade Sewell) is a lawyer renowned for never losing a case but also being very expensive, and he is key to Kelly and Hart’s freedom. The two compete for his services in hopes of an acquittal.

The show is fast and mature, and it will take audience members on a memorable and jazzy ride.

“It’s big, and it’s fun. You’ll be laughing sometimes, and you’ll be anxious sometimes,” Grace Bailey, a junior theater major from Bonifay, Fla., said.

Similar to the music, the dance of “Chicago” is challenging and quick, and it is also riddled with stunts and gymnastics.

For Hudson this is what makes “Chicago” such an impressive work for Troy University. It’s a collaborative process.

The choreography is by Tracy-Gillard Shillabeer, and there are several members of TDRE in the musical.

The costumers, technicians and managers are all equally important also, as Chicago’s flamboyance requires meticulous detail.

The characters of the show are, at least on the surface, bad people and criminals; however, they grow on audiences and captivate their interest. Some may even find themselves rooting for them in the end.

Thematically, “Chicago” details the mysticism surrounding infamous individuals.

“It [‘Chicago’] explores how our society glamorizes notorious individuals and raises them to cult status,” Roy Hudson, director and scene designer, said.

“These themes are still a major factor in what we call entertainment— from reality television to stars that we pay money to see.”

“Chicago” has been stretched across several mediums. Originally, it was a 1920s play. In 1975 the musical was made, and in 2002 it was made into an Academy Award winning film.

The latter version may be what students are most familiar with, and fans of the movie may be wondering if the musical will resonate with them in the same way.

“There is one difference, but it’s a good one. Fans of the movie will love the show,” Bailey said.

Hudson agreed that fans of them movie would also enjoy the musical, and he added that the “theatricality” of the show more was more effectively represented on stage.

Perhaps the most unique quality about “Chicago” is its female dominated cast.

“We were looking for a piece of musical theater that could showcase our strong female performers,” Hudson said.

“Chicago does just that with iconic musical numbers that feature women. Not many strong musical pieces do that.”

“Chicago” begins showing Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theatre, and the doors open at 7 p.m.  It continues showing until March 2.

General admission is $10, but students can buy tickets for $5 with their student I.D.

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