Chicago at The State Theatre Easton | Review By: Victoria Durgin

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Review By: Victoria Durgin

Murder, revenge, lust, love and the complex state of justice in 1920s America came to life on the stage of the historic State Theatre in Easton on April 17 and April 18. That is thanks to the energy of the latest touring company of the hit musical “Chicago,” which first premiered on Broadway 27 years ago and has delighted audiences since.

Chicago On Tour includes all the hit songs of the beloved show alongside dazzling choreography and a captivating orchestra.

“Chicago” first debuted on Broadway in 1975 and the current staging of the show is officially the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. The show tells the story of several women held in the state penitentiary for various crimes (though mostly murder) against their husbands and other men who have wronged them. Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, the lead female protagonists, quickly realize that violent crime can create celebrity, and just as quickly learn that fame is fleeting when created by a fickle local media. They are followed on this journey by several other ensemble members of the female prison and by the prison matron, who offers her guidance to the girls for an increasingly hefty fee. Other characters, including the shady-at-best lawyer Billy Flynn and Amos, the shamed-yet-faithful husband of Roxie, round out the cast and offer alternating perspectives of the damage done by fame and the wider social cost of crime in 1920s Chicago.

Maybe the greatest strength of “Chicago” is its ability to hit on dark themes through humor, irony and incredibly choreographed dance numbers. This rendition of the show was no exception, and this cast was filled with talent from the leading stars all the way through the just as important ensemble members around them. On April 17 audiences were treated to understudy Olivia Lacie Andrews as Roxie Hart, who delivered a performance full of sass, energy and genuine pain, all interwoven through dance numbers and some of the softer moments the show gives to the accused murderer and short-term celebrity. Kailin Brown offers an equally strong performance as Velma Kelly, and the two blended together beautifully during their duets throughout the show. Also notable performances included Conor Sullivan as Billy Flynn and J. Terrel as Mary Sunshine, a tenacious performer with a roaring secret unveiled near the end of the show.

The orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor Cameron Blake Kinnear, was onstage the entirety of the show and stole every scene. Costuming, choreography and the lighting design strengthened every cast member’s stellar performance and left audiences in awe of the magic of live theater, even while following the dastardly, devious pursuits of women who were wronged and who wronged others.