Sexy, Streamlined “Chicago” Sizzles at Overture Center

The Broadway hit keeps the focus on the jazz-age music and dancing

Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly in

Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly in "Chicago"

COURTESY OF OVERTURE CENTER

You might expect a musical set in the jazz age to be an explosion of excess—of over-the-top sets, flashy props and multiple changes of embellished costumes. So it’s a bit of a shock to see Chicago, with its static stage set-up and performers clad all in black.

But it’s this streamlined approach that makes the Broadway hit, running through October 6 at Overture Center, so appealing. Devoid of potential distractions, the focus rests squarely on the music, dancing and storyline.

The musical follows Roxie Hart, a bored mechanic’s wife who dreams of being a vaudeville star, who is sent to the slammer after killing her lover. There, she meets nightclub star Velma Kelly and they become rivals for the attention and help of slick lawyer Billy Flynn—played by John O’Hurley of Seinfeld and Dancing with the Stars.

O’Hurley is a treat to watch, funny and full of charisma as he works the people around him—including the conductor of the band that sits front and center on stage. (He tells the conductor that if he’d get himself a real instrument, he’d probably get a seat like the other musicians.)

Other standouts are Paige Davis as naïve but scheming Roxie and Terra C. MacLeod as the veteran and increasingly desperate Velma. Distinctly different in style, both command attention when they dance.

It’s especially fun to see them along with other members of the cast, outfitted in fishnets, bra tops and sheer shirts. It’s a sultry aesthetic that matches their sexy moves.

While Chicago debuted on Broadway in 1975, it’s clear the show still sizzles today.

Chicago runs through October 6 at Overture Center. For more information, visit overturecenter.com.

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine.

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