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Tuesday, April 29, 2008   


And all that jazz!
Theatre League of Louisiana paints the town with 'Chicago' to end season

Chicago is a musical made for Melanie Waldron and Lindsay Roginski. At least, that's what many critics say.

Mark Lowry of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram pointed out the tour's faults, but added "the two leading ladies are fantastic, especially when together." Dave Richards of the Erie (Pa.) Times News wrote "Blonde Bombshell Melanie Waldron nailed Velma's devious nature. She wasn't bold and brassy, like Catherine Zeta-Jones; her work was subtler."

Waldron is quick to share the praise with the rest of the cast.

"We have great chemistry onstage," said Waldron, a native of Long Island, N.Y. "We're casted well, and it shows.

"I think we work off each other really well and that goes with the other leads, too. It's a really solid show and everybody brings to the table a great character and a great energy. I think we really feed off each other."

Waldron and cast show off their energy tonight as Chicago visits the Heymann Performing Arts Center. The musical is Theatre League of Louisiana's season finale.

In the play, Waldron plays Velma Kelly, a scheming murder suspect who is jailed with Roxie Hart, played by Roginski.

Set in the 1920s, Velma's murder is making big headlines. She has plans to cash in on her celebrity until Roxie steals the spotlight, and her lawyer, Billy Flynn.

This musical is based on a 1926 play and real-life crimes reported by journalist Maurine Dallas Watkins. The show hit Broadway in 1975, and its 1996 revival holds the record for longest-running musical revival on Broadway with more than 4,684 performances.

A film version, released in 2002, won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Catherine Zeta-Jones took the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Waldron isn't surprised that that play is still going strong after 80 years.

"It's a story that doesn't get old," said Waldron, who has also performed in national tours of Man of La Mancha and In The Mood. "It's about people doing crazy things to get attention in the media.

"Maybe it's not people murdering people. But if something bad happens, they take advantage of it and use it to boost themselves. That's still happening today."

Waldron adds that patrons should not expect the touring production to look like the movie.

"It's very minimalistic in set, costume and styles. There's not a lot of over-the-top production values like you have with some shows today. We have a very simple set with the orchestra on stage with us.

"The story is basically told through dance, song, the story and some lights. That's what you get, which is very different from the movie."

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Originally published March 31, 2008

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   Zoom Photo

Photos courtesy of Joan Marcus

The Chicago tour stops in Lafayette tonight to end the Theatre League of Louisiana's season.

Want to go?

  • What: Theatre League of Louisiana presents Chicago

  • When: 7:30 p.m. today

  • Where: Heymann Performing Arts Center

  • Tickets: $51, $41, $37 plus handling fees

  • Information: 291-5555

  •    Zoom Photo

    Melanie Waldron takes the stage as Velma Kelly.


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