It's been more than five years since CHICAGO finished its record-breaking run in the West End. Producers promised then they'd bring it back - and they're true to their word. Murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly and their razzle-dazzle attorney Billy Flynn return to London in March. Who should play these iconic characters?
The world’s longest-running American musical, the multi award-winning CHICAGO, returns to London’s West End after a five-and-a-half-year absence. Following a successful UK and international tour, CHICAGO transfers to the Phoenix Theatre from Monday 26 March 2018.
Barry Weissler, who, along with his wife Fran, has produced the show in New York, London and around the world, said:
“This year we celebrated the production’s 21st anniversary and had our most successful year to date. CHICAGO is as relevant and timely as the day we opened. After spending the last several years touring throughout the UK, it feels like we never really left, but we are thrilled to bring the Razzle Dazzle back to the West End.”
Casting for CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre is to be announced.
CHICAGO originally ran in London for 15 years, making it the West End’s longest-running revival. It first opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 to rave reviews and immediately became a sell-out hit. CHICAGO won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics Circle Drama Award for Best Musical. In April 2006, the production transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Cambridge Theatre, where it ran for five years until 27 August 2011, and then on 7 November 2011 moved the Garrick Theatre, where it ran until 1 September 2012.
CHICAGO is a tale of murderesses, media storms and justice gone wrong. Nightclub sensation Velma Kelly murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn, is set to defend her. But when Roxie Hart also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well – turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.
Since it opened in New York in 1996, CHICAGO has played in 36 countries worldwide, and been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean. It has grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and has played over 30,000 performances worldwide, with an estimated 31 million people around the world having seen the musical.
Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper starred as Roxie and Velma in London originally, with Henry Goodman as Billy Flynn. The long list of celebrities who have guest-starred in this celebrity-obsessed musical onstage in their wake have included Christie Brinkley, Brooke Shields, David Hasselhoff and America Ferrara. In 2002, the musical was made into a Hollywood film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.
CHICAGO continues to play on Broadway, where it recently celebrated its 21st birthday, and around the world in multiple languages.
CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1996 Broadway revival was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.