March 17-19 – NORTHFIELD – Pegasus Players, Norwich University’s drama club, will perform ‘Chicago’ at 7.30pm on March 17, 18 and 19 at Mack Hall Auditorium.
This performance is free and open to the public.
Set in roaring 1920s Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders an unfaithful lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take up the rap until he discovers he’s been tricked and turns on Roxie. Condemned and sent to death row, Roxie and another merry murderer, Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and headlines, eventually joining forces in pursuit of the “American Dream”: fame, fortune and of the acquittal.
“Chicago,” featuring music by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb, made its Broadway debut on June 3, 1975, at New York’s 46th Street Theater. The production, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, ran for 936 performances.
On November 14, 1996, a revival of the show opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater, featuring Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking in the opening cast. The show later moved to the Shubert Theater and then to the Ambassador Theater, where, more than two decades later, it continues to run, racking up nearly 10,000 performances.
Assistant Professor of Drama Jeffry Casey, an adviser to the Pegasus Players, said it was the biggest play the Pegasus Players had produced in its five years in Norwich, with more than 40 people involved, including actors , designers, musicians, technical teams and machinists.
Kenny Grenier, in his first year working with the Pegasus Players, is musical director. Choreographer and assistant director Carli Roberts graduated from Norwich last year.
“‘Chicago’ is a real challenge,” Casey said. “It’s non-stop music and dancing for two hours. This demands a lot from the actors, who must act, sing and dance at the same time. Musicals are sports enterprises.
“‘Chicago’ is, to quote one of my favorite movies, an ‘arsenic cookie.’ It’s fun but sour, bitter. There’s only one character I really sympathize with. The rest, including all the leads, are pretty bad people. But the play is slapstick in the original sense of the term: exaggerated, absurd, and exaggerated Actors can wink at the audience and make sure we’re all in on the joke.
Mack Hall Auditorium, completed in 2018, is a 400-seat performing arts center and home to the Pegasus Players, Norwich University’s oldest continuously operating student organisation. The troupe typically produces two shows a year, which alternate between serious and classic musicals, comedies and dramas.
The Pegasus Players also produce student play festivals featuring original works written and directed by students and Norwich Voices for International Women’s Day, a spoken word event about women’s issues on campus and in the world.