Vaudeville comes to Footlite Musicals! The musical Chicago is done with humor and finesse, with razzle-dazzle costuming and vocal work above and beyond expectations.
Monique Alhaddad as Roxie Hart (left) and Laura Lockwood as Velma Kelly in Footlite"s "Chicago"
The story is about murderess Roxie Hart, her experiences in jail and trial. But the show-stopper here is Laura Lockwood as Velma Kelly. Her opening number, "All that Jazz," could go head-to-head with the Broadway recording. Monique Alhaddad is a darling Roxie Hart, but her volume needs some lift. Both women are excellent dancers (Alhaddad was choreographer for the Pacemates for nine seasons), and the lines of their bodies in various steps and poses are beautiful. Choreography (by Lynn Herrick) for the entire cast is exceptionally executed, with a definite nod to the Fosse flair that made this show a hit on Broadway. A lovely piece of work is "All I Care About" with giant feather fans, and "Me and My Baby" is uproariously funny with grown men in boxers, bibs, bonnets and bobby socks. Julie Powers is a strong Mama Morton, an outrageous caretaker to her jailbird women. Doug Peet is perfect as Billy Flynn, the money-grubbing lawyer. Even Amos Hart, as Roxie"s perpetually ignored husband, is a hoot in "Mr. Cellophane." My only quibbles were with the sound: Watch the orchestra volume; sometimes the singers get drowned out. Great fun, amazing costumes for such songs as "Razzle Dazzle" (thanks to Jeff Farley), a good set (Jim Rinehart) and the lingerie touch that provides a cabaret feel without being sleazy. This is a must-see show. Chicago continues through Oct. 13, Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays, Oct. 6 and 13, at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, $14, call 926-6630. "Lend Me a Tenor" Door-slamming, screaming, mistaken identities and silliness of various kinds. This sums up Theatre on the Square"s Lend Me a Tenor, the second in a season of the theater"s past blockbusters, reprised for its 15th anniversary. R. Brian Noffke, who did an elegant job with Footlite"s Titanic last season, directs. This show, however, falls a bit flat. Granted, my viewing of the production was during its preview night the Thursday before it officially opened; perhaps some issues will be resolved in front of an audience. The story is about what happens when the Cleveland Opera Company books an appearance of famed tenor Tito Morelli to play the lead in Otello. Lend Me a Tenor being a farce, something goes wrong, and an unknown, Max, takes the stage in Tito"s place. Alex Yoon as Max is a complete caricature - whining, annoyingly geeky and dripping sweat. He"s played Max previously in a rendition at Carmel Community Players, for which he received an Encore Award for Best Comedic Actor - something that made me raise an eyebrow. Although his performance was more tolerable once he donned the Otello costume, I still found nothing comical about his character - he seemed more like a pathetic human being. Craig Mitchell as Henry Saunders, who thinks up this switcher-oo, relies too heavily on popping eyes and a ranting delivery. Michael Moyer as Tito and Jennifer Faust as his wife, Maria, give enjoyable portrayals of a stereotypical Italian couple. Both make the best of their lines. Robert Kingery as the bellhop was a welcome surprise. He steals the few scenes he"s in. Rounding out the cast are Jennifer Lytle as a Tito fan and Lindsey Johnson as soprano Diana, both of whom give good, straight-forward performances, and Mary Potts as a sweet, but somewhat daft older lady. Lend Me a Tenor continues through Oct. 19, Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20; call 637-8085.