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The Southwestern College theatre department is dancing and singing its ways toward its spring musical, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Chicago.” Set in the Roaring Twenties when vaudeville and scandal thrived, “Chicago” is considered one of the most exciting musicals of American theatre. The story of Roxie Hart, and her imprisonment and trial for the murder of her husband, is the basis for the satire on corruption in the justice system and celebrity criminals.
Performances of “Chicago” will run March 3 to March 6 at Southwestern College in Messenger Recital Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the SC Performing Arts office, (620) 229-6272.
The heart of the story is the competition between the newly-imprisoned Roxie Hart and the seasoned Velma Kelly, a vaudevillian murderess desperately fighting for freedom. Hart is played by SC junior Arden Moon, Winfield, a business major and theatre minor, and Kelly is played by senior Lenita Krejci, theatre and education major from Enid, Okla.
The two celebrity criminals are taken to new heights with the help of the singing and tapping lawyer Billy Flynn, played by Cody Davis, senior, Montrose, Colo., and “Mama” Morton, the prison matron of “the clink” played by Sarah Jane Boyer, SC music major from Longford.
“Chicago” was written in 1975 and restaged in a Broadway revival in 1996, and is the longest running revival on Broadway, now having played almost 6,000 performances. Choreographer Bob Fosse branded the show with his dance style which also played a part in the success of the Academy Award-winning movie “Chicago” in 2002.
In addition to the quirky story line, jazzy music, and thrilling dance, Chicago is full of exciting technical elements. Professional guest artists are complementing SC theatre professor Allyson Moon, director, and the student production staff, working on sets, lights, costumes, and dance.
Auditions were held the week students returned to school for the spring semester, and were opened to area high school and college performers, as well as Southwestern College students.
Blake Carter, senior, Derby, plays the role of Amos Hart, leading a supportive ensemble cast that includes Justin Tinker, Las Vegas; Charles Fall, New York; and Alex Edgerly, Olathe. Aron Pfingsten, Ulysses, and Danny Mouangdy, Winfield, round out the major supportive male roles.
The roles of the Cook County jail murderesses are played by SC senior Caitlynn French, Derby; Julz Faust, Dallas; Stephanie Wilson, junior, Meriden; Sommer Camp, freshman theatre major at Wichita State University; and Winfield High School junior Manon Marcotte. As with the rest of the cast, these five cast members also sing, dance, and play several roles.
The acting, singing, and dancing ensemble includes SC theatre majors Kevin Mnich, senior, Bartlesville, Okla.; sophomores Cooper Hart, Mortonville; Marie Hart, Olathe; and freshmen Stephanie Wheeler, Wichita, Lisa Prater, Derby and Erin Morris, Clearwater. Also in the ensemble are SC junior and Campus Player Victoria Mitchell, Wichita; freshmen Joe Tran, Arlington, Texas, and Katy Buffum, Winfield.
Winfield High School students Tymon Wall, Kaitlyn Wall, and Alessandra Bevilacqua are included in the ensemble of singers and dancers, and are actors with many roles.