MD Theatre Guide: CHICAGO

Keegan took this landmark show, and – even in their smaller stage – has kept the power and intensity of the show intact. “Chicago,” with its outrageously challenging dance sequences, stylized, larger than life characters and the tongue in cheek breaking of the fourth wall is one of a kind. And with the nice touches given by the directorial team of Susan Marie Rhea and Mark A. Rhea, still holds up well.

Maria Rizzo’s turn as the cunningly crazed Roxie is a tour de force, capturing the audience time and again with her naughty nuance. … Teamed with fellow inmate Velma (Jessica Bennett) their continued rivalry heats up the musical numbers and fuels the show. Bennett, the more amenable of the murderers, teamed nicely with Rizzo, especially in the final dance numbers, lending a fine belt and exuberance.

The rest of the talent is top shelf. Keegan vet Kurt Boehm, makes a grand entrance and slick, cold-hearted lawyer Billy Flynn, who gracefully croons his way like a carnival barker, crafting his client’s victories. … Rikki Howie Lacewell lends her pipes as the jail matron Mama Morton, a motherly gatekeeper for the female jailbirds. She had easy power as she struts her stuff onstage and played it less gruff than usual. Michael Innocenti brings us the woeful character or Amos, the naïve, husband that Roxy tries to manipulates to get her out of jail. He engenders laughs as well as tears in a terrific rendition of “Mr. Cellophane” lamenting his chronic invisibility. A costumed Chris Rudy plays the iconic role of reporter Mary Sunshine nicely.

Choreographer Rachel Leigh Dolan, whose work is seen at many DC venues, has taken Fosse’s alluring and iconic dance style and reimagined it for this space with tight precision, especially in “Cell Block Tango” as the girls in prison explain how sensible they all were in killing the ones they loved.

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