NORTHFIELD, Vermont. –Pegasus Players, Norwich University’s drama club, will perform “Chicago” at 7:30 p.m. on March 17, 18 and 19 at Mack Hall Auditorium.
This performance is free and open to the public.
In roaring 1920s Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders an unfaithful lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take up the rap…until he finds out he’s been tricked and turns on Roxie. Condemned and sent to death row, Roxie and fellow “merry murderer” Velma Kelly vie for the spotlight and headlines, eventually joining forces in pursuit of the “American Dream”: fame, fortune, and acquittal.
Chicago, featuring music by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb, made its Broadway debut on June 3, 1975, at the 46th Street Theater in New York City. The production, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, ran for 936 performances.
On November 14, 1996, a revival of the show opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater, featuring Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking in the opening cast. The show later moved to the Shubert Theater and then to the Ambassador Theater, where, more than two decades later, it continues to run, racking up nearly 10,000 performances.
Assistant Professor of Drama Jeffry Casey, the Pegasus Players adviser, said it was the biggest play Pegasus Players had produced in its five years in Norwich, with more than 40 people involved, including actors, designers, musicians, technical teams and stagehands.
Kenny Grenier, in his first year working with the Pegasus Players, is musical director. Choreographer and assistant director Carli Roberts graduated from Norwich last year.
“‘Chicago’ is a real challenge,” Casey said. “It’s non-stop music and dancing for two hours. This demands a lot from the actors, who have to act, sing and dance at the same time. Musicals are sports enterprises.
“‘Chicago’ is, to quote one of my favorite movies, an ‘arsenic cookie.’ It’s fun but sour, bitter. There’s only one character I really sympathize with. The rest, including all the leads, are pretty shitty people. But the play is slapstick in the original sense of the term: exaggerated, absurd, and exaggerated Actors can wink at the audience and make sure we’re all in on the joke.
Mack Hall Auditorium, completed in 2018, is a 400-seat performing arts center and home to the Pegasus Players, the oldest continuously operating student body at Norwich University. The troupe typically produces two shows a year, which alternate between serious and classic musicals, comedies and dramas.
The Pegasus Players also produce student play festivals featuring original works written and directed by students and Norwich Voices for International Women’s Day, a spoken word event about women’s issues on campus and in the world.