A nightclub singer, a double-murderess, a smooth-talking lawyer and a cell block of sin surrounded by the razzle dazzle of the world’s sexiest musical soon returns to the stage in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Audiences “got it comin’” as the story of the award-winning Broadway and West End musical ‘CHICAGO’ unfolds to show-stopping songs including ‘All that Jazz’, ‘Cell Block Tango’ and ‘Mister Cellophane’.
The all-South African touring cast, band and crew began rehearsals in Johannesburg in August 2018 ahead of an international year-long tour that began in New Zealand. First stop was Auckland, followed by Wellington where audiences were dazzled and critics raved. In October the show moved to China, opening at the Grand Theatre in Chongqing. Three more engagements followed in October before opening in Beijing in November; Guangzhou in December and Shanghai in December 2018 and January of this year.
The company returned to South Africa in January, ahead of the South African leg of the tour in association with BBC First. ‘CHICAGO’ will be at Artscape in Cape Town from March 15 until April 14, thereafter heading to Montecasino’s Teatro in Johannesburg from April 20 to May 26.
Booking is now open at Computicket.
After the South African season the SA International company will be touring Europe.
From the opening line to curtain close – global audiences have been unanimous over the decades that there is nothing like ‘CHICAGO’ on stage. Originally staged in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2005 and again, owing to popular demand, in 2008 at Montecasino’s Teatro and Artscape, this show has been enjoyed by more than 210000 local theatregoers.
After eleven years, this sensual, seductive musical returns to these venues bringing back one of this country’s most successful theatre productions. Back for the show are leads Samantha Peo (‘Cabaret’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’), now in the role of Velma Kelly; and Ilse Klink (‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Show Boat’, ‘Isidingo’), who plays Matron Mama Morton for the third South African season. Craig Urbani (‘Sound of Music’, ‘Scandal’) reprises the role of the devious lawyer, Billy Flynn in South Africa. Also returning to the show is KJ Haupt (‘Carmen’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’) as Mary Sunshine with Carmen Pretorius (‘Sound of Music’, ‘Jersey Boys’) and Grant Towers (‘Funny Girl’, ‘Sound of Music’) joining the company in the principal roles of husband and wife, Roxie Hart and Amos Heart.
Produced by Showtime Management in association with Barry & Fran Weissler and David Ian, ‘CHICAGO’ has a combined South African and international creative team including Associate Director, Tânia Nardini and Re-creation of New York Production Choreography by Gary Chryst, both of whom have staged ‘CHICAGO’ across multiple continents. Award-winning Musical Director, Bryan Schimmel (‘Jersey Boys’, ‘Annie’, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’) leads the 11-piece orchestra.
“We are delighted to have most of the original company for our return, and I believe the tremendous talents of each and every member in the company will take this all-South African production to even greater heights in 2019.” says Hazel Feldman, ‘CHICAGO’s’ SA Producer.
Winner of six Tonys, two Oliviers, one Grammy, two Baftas and six Academy Awards, ‘CHICAGO’ is the longest-running musical revival in Broadway history. It has brought cheering audiences to their feet all around the world, from Australia to Argentina, from Spain to South Africa. An estimated 31 million people have seen ‘CHICAGO’, which has played over 32500 performances worldwide.
‘CHICAGO’ was first created by the legendary Broadway trio of John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (book/lyrics) and Bob Fosse (co-author, original director and choreographer) in 1975, and was based on a 1926 Broadway play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a journalist from the Chicago Tribune who had covered the sensational trials of two women, both of whom were accused of killing their lovers whilst under the influence of drink and jazz.
Kander and Ebb enjoyed a collaboration that spanned four decades, defined musical theatre on Broadway and earned them numerous awards. Fosse was one of Broadway’s biggest and brightest creative stars, renowned for his innovative and spectacular staging, with the emphasis on exhilarating dance sequences. He turned out one hit after another from the 1950s to the late 70s and is the only director so far to have won an Oscar, two Tony Awards and an Emmy Award in the same year, 1973.
In November 1996 a revival of ‘CHICAGO’ opened on Broadway produced by Barry & Fran Weissler, and a year later they opened the show in London’s West End. The rest, as they say, is history, as ‘CHICAGO’ is currently playing its 22nd year in New York, where it holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the second longest-running musical in Broadway history. In the West End, ‘CHICAGO’ ran for 15 years where it also became the longest-running musical revival as well as the longest-running Broadway musical to play there, and returned to London in March 2018.