Backstage at Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years of Chicago The Musical

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Broadway Balances America brought to you
by Broadway Across America, bringing the
best of Broadway to a city near you. Okay it’s time now for Broadway
Balances America, now this is our series
that takes you behind the scenes of
some of the most beloved Broadway
musicals as they appear across the country
in your local theaters and today we’ve
got Chicago. Oh my gosh, it’s a true
New York City institution– Chicago has
everything that makes Broadway great
Okay let’s start; a universal tale of
fame, fortune, and all that jazz, songs
great songs, amazing dancing, and for one
night, one night only– how jealous are you. I’m so jealous Me too–
Amber Milt gets to razzle dazzle. All
right take it away Amber. Ladies
and gentlemen you’re about to see a
story of murder, greed, corruption,
violence, exploitation, adultery, and
treachery, all those things we hold near and
dear to our hearts. And so it begins the
longest running American Broadway
musical. [Music]
For 21 years the award-winning show has
been razzle-dazzling theater-goers both
here and abroad, from the creative team,
to its leading ladies, this is one
production that definitely has legs. Fran
and Barry Weissler are the show producers. You both have such an
illustrious career and are really Broadway royalty. Focusing
on Chicago which yes, you are Broadway royalty. The
king and queen. Yes, the kind
and queen. What do you think it
is that’s so magical about the
show? We
felt that the audience was ready for
something performance driven, so this is
about the actors and so the set is on
stage the orchestra is on stage and it
features the actors, and it’s their show
and we thought it was time for that, for
that to happen. Well I, I think
it’s timeless material. The subject
matter is universal the, the, the conflict
between men and women–
Our shows are about people who are
beautiful enough and rich enough to get
away with murder. At the heart
of the show, set in the razzle-dazzle
of the roaring 1920s are two rival
vaudevillian murderesses, Roxie Hart and
Velma Kelly, who are locked up in Cook County
Jail. Over the last two decades
they’ve been played by the best of the best. Are these
your shoes? No, these they gave
me downstairs I met Kevin
downstairs who was so uh Do you get to keep them? I mean they might have to pry
them off of me So Charolotte, you’ve been with
the show 20 years– on and off, touring, what
do you think it is about Chicago that,
that people find so magical? One
reason is because of people coming in and
out and different celebrities and
different people, it’s always fresh and
also it’s just timeless– it’s about the
media and being successful and being
famous and that’s all that seems to be what
people care about, it’s being
successful by being famous and,
and beating the system. It was
Bob Fosse, Kander, and Ebb, and we had an
incredible first cast but I think it’s
universal, I think it’s visual, I think
it’s the music, it’s exciting to watch,
it’s got danger, it’s got sexy, it’s got
all those things and so we end up really
crossing all the cultural boundaries. So
this is my view. This is unbelievable. I
know right? With one great showstopper after
the next, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s
now classic score, keeps the story
moving at a razzle-dazzle pace. So Tom
it’s 21 years now that this shows been
on Broadway. Like 21 years today. I
know can you believe they’re letting me on. Don’t worry,
we’ll take care of you, don’t worry. And take care
of me they did. Okay so we’ve
got two weeks to go until Chicago, so
I’m headed to the gym now. I’ve be going
enough but I thought you guys might want to
see what I’m doing to get ready, check
this out. Have you seen those ladies in
their William Ivey Long design
costumes, or lack thereof? Sexy indeed, with their fishnets
and bowler hats, a tribute to the
original Bob Fosse choreography. Okay
everybody so it’s show day, it is finally
here! I’ve got so much to do, I’ve
gotta get in hair fittings, I’ve got to go
get into costume fittings, what little
there is of them, and then I’ve got to
rehearse because they’ve sent me some
lines to practice but I haven’t done any
rehearsal yet and we are literally hours
away from the show so I gotta go
[Music] Take the hat, and you can come
to remember the 10 and the gold,
which naturally you did. If you’re
farther up or down right, don’t worry about it
this is, this is the alignment that we
were looking for. Since this is in
your right hand take your left hand put it
on the other end of it–
Boom. Boom. Yes. All those
things we hold near and dear All those things
we hold near and dear to our hearts
Yep. So they just put me through
my paces for learning a little bit
of choreography How am I doing? Um
you should be in the show. Oh, I
mean well tonight I’m going to be. I mean
right, right, right. [Music]
Mr. Billy Flynn. Crossover. If I
fall into you, ,hi how you doin’, we’re just gonna keep
going with it. The show must go on! Give ,em
the old razzle-dazzle
boom. Razzle-dazzle ,em. Then
we’ll go back step, step, nice little back
bump, the Fosse back bump. [Music]
Give ,em an act with lots of flash in it
and the reaction will be passionate. Right
here is gonna be a lady. Oh. So
you’re gonna be going up stage of her. Got it–
thank you. She’s gonna be upside down in a
split. Okay no bigs. Do you have any
advice, I’m going on tonight my first
performance, and it’s really close now I
think we’re like just hours, hours away from
this do you have any advice? Just stay in
the moment and have a good time that’s what
I would say and let people lead you,
you know what I mean like if you get lost
or anything they’re gonna be people
they’re helping you. It’s really
emotional actually to be doing this– I
haven’t been on stage in years and TV is
different so I’m feeling really blessed
today just a dream come true. [Music]
What goes over this? Where’s the
rest of the costume? Ladies and gentlemen presenting
the silver tongue prince of the
courtroom the one, the only, Mr. Billy
Flynn. So can
you tell people about Billy Flynn,
what’s his character like. Billy
Flynn you know what’s the phrase I
could use, morally challenged? No I
wouldn’t even say that, you know he’s a really
good lawyer and brings with him all
of the character flaws and assets that
come with being a really, really good
lawyer and winning the case is what
it’s all about
and he has the sort of self-awareness
and self-knowledge that it’s all a show,
life is a show, so make it a good one. It’s all a circus kid, a
three-ring circus,
these trials, the whole world, it’s all show business. Kid you
are working with a star! Give ,em
the old razzle-dazzle, razzle-dazzle ,em
[music] [Music] Give ,em an act
with lots of flash in it and the reaction will be passionate. More
relevant today than when it was first
written, the press and audiences everywhere have given the show
many well-deserved ovations. We’re
ahead of our time because this is a show
where women become empowered and when
they become angry with the situation
between the males and females in their
world they they kill him they do him
in. They do in the bad guys,
there’s no trial,they’re on trial but the
other fellow is gone. It’s
Broadway in every way it has dancing, it has
singing and it’s all incorporated
beautifully into storytelling. You get to
see brilliant actors performing
brilliant material and you get a great
story along with it that is just not told
and sort of the dangerous fun tale and I
think that that’s just universally
exciting. [Music]
Could I have one last picture please. Whoa
it is, it’s a lot of work– They make it
look so easy but this is not easy but I
do feel like I am in the best hands
tonight everybody Mikey, he literally has
my back, Malin has just been amazing,
Charlotte, Tom, everybody has been so
welcoming. It was more. Everything and then some,
thank you all. Thank you guys. The North American tour of
Chicago is coming soon to a theater near
you. Check out Broadway Across
America, Broadway Balances America, or
you can always go to our website for all the show
information, tour dates and more [Music]

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