Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle, that’s the name of the game. The 25th Anniversary Tour of “Chicago,” which touched down Tuesday at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa—where it continues through Sunday, May 21—proved anew Bob Fosse’s long shadow hangs over the American musical theatre like a rain cloud, his sparkling effervescence still knockin’ ‘em dead from beyond the grave.
I always wonder if a national tour is up to snuff. This one most certainly is. From the crackerjack 10-piece onstage band conducted by Cameron Blake Kinnear (with Josh Ganci on first trumpet) to the dancers (with Gary Chryst recreating Ann Reinking’s original choreography, channeling Fosse) to the cast, no worries there.
Katie Frieden (Roxie), Logan Floyd (Velma), Brian Kalinowski (Amos, aka Mr. Cellophane) and Christina Wells (Mama) are crowd-pleasing standouts in the ensemble cast. And if you like eye candy, there’s enough of it to satisfy any and all genders, and then some.
Kander & Ebb’s music and lyrics, and Ebb & Fosse’s book are well served by the latest national tour. The three film adaptations of “Chicago” are well worth seeing, with 1942’s non-musical “Roxie Hart” (starring Ginger Rogers) a particular delight—but this perennial favorite about a girl who gets away with murder was meant to be seen live, and the current incarnation of the show proves it beyond a doubt. www.scfta.org.
“In My Bones” exemplifies the magic of live theatre at its best, despite the size of the venue or the budget. The intimacy of the Garage Theater in Long Beach is ideally suited to this Doc Andersen-Bloomfield drama brought in by Panndora Productions (through May 28), about an odd couple who end up roommates in a British detention center.
Maiya Carter, in the central role of a West African teenager with attitude, accentuates her stage presence with stunning physicality. Karen Wray provides a perfect contrast as a very proper professor incarcerated alongside her, with striking turns by Tamika Katon-Donegal as a guard and Ron Holsey as an imaginary panther. Sonja Berggren directs with aplomb. www.panndoraproductions.com.
Photo: Katie Frieden and company in Chicago at SCFTA (Credit: Jeremy Daniel).