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University Theatre to present ‘Chicago: The Musical’ this fall

October 17, 2013

Murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery all in River Falls? “Chicago: The Musical” is coming to the University Theatre at UW-River Falls beginning on Oct. 24.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, “Chicago” is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously 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 odious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

Directed by UWRF  communication and theatre arts Professor James Zimmerman and choreographed by Ad-Hoc Instructor Mari Kline, “Chicago” features a cast of 28 and an onstage orchestra of 14, under the direction of UWRF Professor of Music J. Michael Roy.

The cast of UWRF students, featuring Claudia Vazquez Velez of Hudson (Velma Kelly), Kendra Yarke of Cedar, Minn., (Roxie Hart), and Taylor Evans of Hanover, Minn., (Billy Flynn), have been rehearsing since early September. They have been preparing to enact the story, iconic music, and dance numbers from the show, including the popular “Cell Block Tango” and opening number “All That Jazz.”

With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb, “Chicago” is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival. The Broadway revival holds the records for longest-running musical revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It is also the third longest-running show in Broadway history, having played more than 6,700 performances. The UWRF production will be in town for six nights only.

“Chicago: The Musical” will play in the UWRF Blanche Davis Theatre, in the Kleinpell Fine Arts (KFA) building Oct. 24-26, and Oct. 31-Nov. 2.  All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students. Tickets may be purchased or reserved through the University Theatre Box Office in KFA or by phone at 715-425-3114.