on a 1926 play by Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins,
Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who
murders her unfaithful husband, then manages not only to avoid
prison with the help of razzle-dazzle lawyer Billy Flynn, but
uses the trial to propel herself to showbiz stardom along with
another murderous chorus girl, Velma Kelly. A dark parable of
American justice, Chicago is a sexy musical extravaganza
that includes several show-stopping numbers such as "All
That Jazz," "Razzle Dazzle" and "Class."
Chicago opened at the 46th Street Theatre on June 3,
1975, with a cast that included Gwen Verdon (Roxie), Chita Rivera
(Velma) and Jerry Orbach (Billy). Although the show enjoyed a
run of 898 performances, it was overshadowed by A Chorus Line
which opened the same year. (Chicago was nominated for
11 Tony Awards, but lost out in every category when A Chorus
Line swept the awards.) As a result, Chicago would
remain quietly in the shadows, one of Broadway's most underappreciated
gems, until 1997 when it was revived on Broadway with choreography
by Ann Reinking "in the style of Bob Fosse." This production
spawned a national tour and went on to win 6 Tony Awards including
"Best Revival of a Musical," "Best Lighting Design,"
"Best Choreography" and "Best Direction of a Musical."
Other collaborations by Kander and Ebb include Cabaret,
Kiss of the Spider Woman and Zorba.