Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart and Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Concertus Manila
‘Chicago,’ the number one longest running American musical opens Dec. 3
INQUIRER.net / 01:02 AM November 29, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—The sensational Broadway and West End musical “Chicago” is ready to thrill Philippine audiences and set the stage on fire on December 3, 2014. Its highly-anticipated Manila season plays until December 21, 2014 at The Theatre at Solaire, and is presented in the Philippines by VISA and SMART Infinity, in cooperation with Solaire Resort and Casino.
The Gala Premiere of the show marks the grand opening of the country’s newest theatrical luxury hotspot – The Theatre at Solaire. The gleaming 1760-seat theatre has been specially constructed to house the big Broadway and West End shows, in recognition of the Filipino appetite for musical theatre, and firmly placing Manila on the international touring circuit.
This fan-shaped lyric theater with a seating capacity of 1,760 is ideal for all forms of the performing arts — be it musical theater, opera, concerto, pop concert, ballet, awards night, competition, circus act, kiddie show, or corporate event.
The Theatre boasts of the best light and sound equipment. It is the first theater in the country and among a few in the region that is equipped with the Constellation Acoustic System exclusively provided by Meyer Sound.
This groundbreaking technology combines patented algorithm, advanced digital processing, and miniature transducer technology to provide optimal yet flexible acoustics in building design. It enables the acoustical properties of a room to be altered to suit the nature of the event taking place —all with a touch of a finger.
Producer James Cundall, Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions says “I am both delighted and excited to be bringing the first musical to the brand new Theatre at Solaire. And what better show to open this sophisticated venue than the slick, sexy and sophisticated show Chicago!”
“Chicago’s” sizzling choreography and jazz-infused melodies are guaranteed to razzle-dazzle audiences in Manila—its only Southeast Asian touring destination this year.
Headlining the very first Manila season are two of Broadway’s sensational stars – Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart and Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly. Terra has played the role of Velma around the world from Broadway to the West End and internationally, while Bianca made her Broadway debut in 2002 in the role of Roxie and has gone on to win awards on tour.
Last month “Chicago” overtook the musical “Cats” to become Broadway’s second longest running musical of all time behind “The Phantom of the Opera” – and the longest-running American musical.
“’Chicago’ is one of my favorite musicals,” says Cundall. It is a knock-out show which features a wonderfully humorous story, sensational dancing, toe-tapping music and an incredible cast of characters, which is why it continues to play on Broadway after so many years and has been applauded by millions of people.”
There is a whole new audience here in the Philippines who, whether they have seen the Academy award-winning movie or not, will now have the chance to experience ‘Chicago’ live on stage. It is wonderful that Manila now has a world-class theatre, as well as superb facilities such as restaurants, shops and bars at the Solaire Resort,” he adds.
“Manila is becoming a very important part of the Asian touring circuit, with a sophisticated and musically-savvy audience who have shown during ‘Cats,’ ‘Mamma Mia,’ ‘Phantom’ and ‘Wicked’ that they totally appreciate world class shows. The welcome and reception that the casts are receiving in Manila are becoming legendary with international theatre companies,” notes Cundall.
Local musicians with Broadway’s finest
“Chicago’s” musical director Robert Billig came to Manila in September to audition and select Filipino musicians to be part of this Broadway blockbuster – he settled on 11 musicians and one deputy musical director, who join the four international musicians to make up the 16-piece live orchestra for the show.
“The score of ‘Chicago’ is based in the jazz idioms of the 1920s,” explains Billig. “It is fun, clever and very catchy. As the orchestra is onstage, they play a very important role in the actual performance of the show. They are totally visible to the audience and there is a close relationship between the orchestra and the stage performers.”
“We chose the musicians for the ‘orchestra based mainly on their training and experience. While it is important for a musician to have strong classical training, it is also important that they understand the jazz styles used in the show. Those musicians that we have selected, I believe, demonstrated an understanding of these styles. It is very important for us to use local musicians for our production. They will help us bring the experience of this wonderful show to the people of Manila,” says Billig.
Set amidst the opulence of the 1920’s prohibition era, “Chicago” tells the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer with aspirations of becoming a Vaudeville star.
She murders her on-the-side-lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring “Chicago’s” slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.
“Chicago’s” savage social satire and sharp humor, with its themes of manipulation and greed are all perfectly set in tune to the infectious, “hummable” music and provocative lyrics by Fred Ebb and John Kander, all the while showcasing riveting choreography in the style of Bob Fosse.
Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, the New York production opened in 1996 and was directed by Walter Bobbie with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. “Chicago” features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design by Scott Lehrer. The production also features orchestration by Ralph Burns and supervising music direction by Rob Fisher.
The Manila season of “Chicago” runs from 3rd to 21 December, for 23 performances only, with no extension possible. Visit www.CHICAGOTheMusical.com for more information. Tickets are on sale through TicketWorld. Call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.
Official airline Philippine Airlines. Official ocean carrier OOCL. Special thanks to Diamond Hotel, ABS-CBN, The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, 2nd Ave., Jack TV, Victory Liner, RX 93.1, Mellow 94.7, Retro 105.9 DCG FM, RJ 100.3, 99.5 PlayFM, Ayala Malls Cinemas, Ayala Malls, Rustan’s, Beringer – Napa’s Finest, and ClickTheCity.com.
“Chicago” is produced in Manila by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises and Concertus Manila.