Chicago Sparkles at Austin Playhouse! By Olin Meadows

main_banner_Chic2015 (1)Chicago, the classic Broadway musical by Kander and Ebb with Bob Fosse in the mix as well, a perennial favorite by theaters large and small. This show is currently being performed at Austin Playhouse in a spectacular production. Austin Playhouse always has a special amount of polish to each of their productions, however they took that polish and class to a whole new level with this production!  Every part of this show is well thought out and completely breathtaking.

Michael McKelvey, one of Austin’s theatrical treasures leads this production with poise and expert direction. Dr. McKelvey has a style that most wish they could achieve and few do.  Dr. McKelvey is assisted by Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique who created the brilliant and entertaining choreography. Verastique also plays a cameo of Roxy’s now dead lover. This team is a power house that creates a spectacle worthy of the ticket price hands down!

The Costumes by Buffy Manners are the reason for a large part of this spectacle. They are lavish, and short, tasteful yet just sleazy enough that you feel you are in the golden age of Jazz! Set against the scenic design which is simplistic but flexible Desiderio Roybal, topped off with lighting that is cool and effective by Don Day. But that is just the look… the real piece de resistance is the casting.

Chicago stars Sara Burke as Roxie Hart, Burke was born for a role such as this. Her bubbly yet strong personality is the exact recipe for the best Roxy Hart Austin has ever seen. She is a precious gem in the Austin theatre community. Partnered with Burke is Rachel James as Velma Kelley, who makes being bad look more than good! James is sexy, sassy, and domineering. The combo of Burke and James should be remember like the authors Kander and Ebb! To add a little more talent to the cast Austin Playhouse has cast Jacqui Cross as Mama Morton, and Scott Shipman as Amos, both are the best Austin has to offer for these roles! Cross and Shipman have expert timing, and create characters you want to see more of. The real tragedy of this show is that they have only smaller supporting roles!

This show is a sure fire win!  We give this production a rare but well deserved 5 out of 5 stars. Don’t kick yourself for not seeing this show while you can! Chicago runs Through June 28, 2015

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