Chicago at Central New York Playhouse
The revival of Chicago on Broadway is still going, it is now the second longest running show of all time, and, I repeat, it is a revival. Only The Phantom of the Opera has had a longer continuous run. Furthermore the 2002 Oscar winning film (impressive best picture) of the same name hasn’t slowed the show’s popularity. It’s amazing.
Chicago is one of my favorite shows of all time, I am a huge fan of Kander and Ebb (the composers), who’s irony, cynicism, and sharp, but often funny, edges feed my own sensibility.
Just check out these great lyrics from Mama Morton’s solo, “When You’re Good to Mama.”
“They say that life is tit for tat
And that's the way I live
So, I deserve a lot of tat
For what I've got to give”
The Central New York Playhouse production of Chicago, now playing through Saturday July 1, once again proves the old adage that good theater comes from enthusiasm and energy. I wish other amateur groups worked this hard and were this dedicated. If they did, we wouldn’t have such a dearth of interesting theater in Central and Northern New York. Sigh.
Artistic Director Dustin M. Czarny wisely stays close to both the Broadway Production and film’s roots. He has cast extremely well and uses the set and stage both economically and completely. I was impressed with the choreography; which is often the most amateur looking part of amateur productions. Here the dance numbers look great and there wasn’t a single synchronous problem. Also of special mention is the great orchestra and the polished orchestrations. The score really soars here.
The cast is very good, with stand outs being Ben Sills as Billy Flynn and Jose Mele as Amos. Mele’s solo “Mr. Cellophane” in the second act was smashing-great job! A few slapstick/farcical touches don’t quite work with the sophistication of Kander of Ebb, but this is a quibble, and probably wouldn’t be noticeable to an audience member other than a Chicago obsessed fan, such as myself.
This cynical, slick, ironic tale of murder, infamy, power and the original idea of “fifteen minutes” of fame really shines and struts under the hard work of The Central New York Playhouse. Well done!