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Theater Buzz: ‘Chicago’ the musical brings a Broadway favorite to the Philippines

Broadway stars wow Pinoy audiences with the Manila run of ‘Chicago.’

Theater Buzz: ‘Chicago’ the musical brings a Broadway favorite to the Philippines-Rhea Manila Santos
Rhea Manila Santos

Twitter: @allaboutmanila


12/11/2014 09:38 AM
Theater Buzz: ‘Chicago’ the musical brings a Broadway favorite to the Philippines
With the officially longest running Broadway musical in Manila for the first time, Solaire Resort's Chicago boasts of a cast that is nothing but world-class. The theatrical production which has already reached 17 million people worldwide is on a limited run until December 21 at The Theatre in Solaire. Chicago tells the story of housewife and nightclub dancer Roxie Hart who ends up murdering her lover and goes to jail for the crime. She enlists the help of the city's slickest criminal lawyer to transform her case from a heartless murder to a plea for sympathy.

Roxie is played by Bianca Marroquin who is also the first Mexican actress to land a lead role on Broadway. “Roxie Hart to me is a very delicious role to play because it has everything you ever wanted. It's like a dream role. First of all she's a dancer, an actress, a comedian, and a singer so it's all the things that we've been trained to do. I always like to think that Roxie goes through all the emotions in the two hours and 20 minutes that the show is about because she's very feisty and crazy and passionate and very impiulsive and get to see why she's actually capable of killing somebody but then she's very vulnerable,” she said.

The 39-year-old theater veteran admitted she has grown up with the role after playing Roxie for the past 13 years. “I was very young when I got this part in Mexico and in my own life as a human being I think I've grown with this character. Alongside with Roxie, the things that have been happening to me personally the losses you go through, the changes. I recently did a concert in New York and I greeted the audience with, 'The only constant thing in life is change. The only constant thing in my life is Roxie Hart so far.' So I did my concert and it revolved on other shows that I've done. And every time I have something new to offer to the character, I've grown up. I've matured I never stop feeding her,” she shared. 

The Chicago star admitted she was very impressed with the Philippines after flying in twice this year. “We came here in September just to do a quick press conference and just the treatment and your culture and you're very warm and very considerate and kind. Personally in Mexico that's how we are so all the crew backstage and the team it's very nice to work with people like that. They're very, very hardworking people,” she explained.

When it comes to their production, Bianca admitted Chicago is very different form other Broadway shows. “The fact that it's a very minimalistic show. You don't see huge productions, you don't see a castle or a helicopter or a big ship or anything like that. It's just raw talent on stage with great lighting. The lighting leaves a lot to your imagination. I think it's very genius. The choreography and the band is on the stage, trapped in a big frame,” she explained.

Another key character in the play is played by another theater veteran and Broadway actress Terra Macleod who brings to life the role of vaudeville star-turned-murderess Velma Kelly and who has been playing the role for more than a decade already. “Knowing me, if I didn't like it I just wouldn't do it. I don't need to do it I do it because I love to do it. And when I have friends in the show and when I can laugh on stage and off stage with that kind of rapport, I don't see 11 years gone by. I see an 11-year journey and life of growth. So we're very lucky,” she admitted.

As the feisty rival cellmate of Roxie, Terra said her character is more complex than she seems. “She's this tougher external woman with a big heart and I always like to describe her as someone who is very layered like an onion. She's successful and strong but also very vulnerable as well. And it's hard for her to show her vulnerability and that's where the magic happens when she and Roxie both get a glimpse of each other's vulnerability. And that's where the magic happens,” she said. Working with Filipinos in the production has also been a positive experience for the theater actress. “They're so hospitable and very sweet. They work hard. I ask for something and within a second they want to make sure it's there and you never have to say it twice.,” she added.

Catch the Manila season of Chicago until December 21st at The Theatre at Solaire in Solaire Resorts and Casino. Visit
www.CHICAGOTheMusical.com for moe information. Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.