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The Deer Park Community

APP opens Chicago Friday night

Written by Emily N. Wolfe. Posted in Community

Chicago the musicalIN OUR COMMUNITY
A Broadway and big screen smash hit is set for the Art Park Players stage. "Chicago" brings all that jazz to Deer Park starting Friday night at the Theater/Courts Building. Follow the caper of Velma Kelly from the nightclub to the cellblock to the courts Friday night through Feb. 24. 

Straight from “Chicago,” Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and the Merry Murderesses are joining the Art Park Players in their version of the 1975 Broadway musical. The show will run Feb. 9-10, 16-18, 23 and 24. The show tells the story of how Roxie Hart, along with her fellow inmates, vied for fame and freedom in the Cook County Jail.

While the musical includes classics like “All that Jazz” and “Cellblock Tango,” Chelsee Jernigan, the show’s Velma Kelly, said the most memorable part of the show is the way the audience learns the story.

“What makes this show so special is the history and structure of it. It effortlessly mixes two staples of the time period,” Jernigan said. “Every number in this show is presented like a vaudevillian act.”

“Chicago” first opened on Broadway in 1975 and experienced a revival in 1996. The show’s director, David Eck said the “immortal staging by Bob Fosse” makes the musical special.

According to Eck, audiences can expect “amazing singing and dancing from talent all over the Houston area and production values (that) rival Broadway.”

Moreover, “Chicago” allowed choreographer Heather Steele the ability to add her own take on one of her favorite Broadway productions.

“I’ve seen Chicago twice on Broadway, which makes being involved in this production that much more special for me,” she said. “It’s done in that signature Bob Fosse style – seen in ‘Pippin,’ ‘Sweet Charity,’ and ‘Cabaret’ – it’s a very specific style with dramatic, intricate movements. It’s very well received and a lot of fun.”

The show includes 12 dance numbers and while choreographing each number was “incredible” and offered a new way of telling the story, Steele said ‘All That Jazz’ is her favorite.

“It’s such an iconic piece,” she said. “‘Chicago’ is a dream show for dancers and choreographers alike.”

In addition to well-known musical numbers, Jernigan said the audience can expect to see “energy with a capital E.”

“From the set, to the performers, to the costumes there isn't a boring part in this show at all,” she said. “I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say I can’t wait to see the audiences faces when that curtain opens at the beginning of the show.”

In addition to Jernigan, the show features Alexia Valente as Roxie Hart, Tommy Hysler as Billy Flynn and Susan Mele as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton.

Other cast members include Nick Thomas as Mary Sunshine and JD Mathis as Amos, as well as Lacey Myers, Suzie Ruege, Taylor Wismeg, Kierra McKay, Gabriela Rosales and Kayla Skinner as The Murderesses. Crew members include: Alex Musgrove as the show’s musical director, Joe Piper as the show’s technical director, costume designer Gail Eck and stage manager Margo Staley.

For those wondering if the show might be a too risqué for younger audiences, the production’s intended audience will be more similar to the 2002 film than to the original Broadway production or its revival. Eck said he “would rate it the same as the movie: PG-13 for adult themes.”

Tickets are $30 for dinner and the show and $15 for the show only. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. with dinner served at 7 p.m. Sunday’s matinee show is at 2 p.m. with dinner served at 1 p.m.

“I've truly had an excellent experience with this show. It's honestly been a complete dream come true,” Jernigan said. “After it closes I'll step away feeling honored to have been in this production.”

Tickets are available through the Box Office by calling. 281-794-2448. Eck said the tickets are selling fast.