“Chicago” stops in Stephens for weekend

Lana Gordon (Velma Kelly) sings “All That Jazz” during the opening act of the Broadway show ‘Chicago’ at Stephens Auditorium on Feb. 24. 

Tommy Crook

A standing ovation and a roaring applause filled Stephens Auditorium Friday evening after the musical “Chicago” had its first performance of three this weekend. 

Stephens was full of theatre-goers watching Roxie Hart (Dylis Croman) climb to fame, from a housewife, adulteress, murderer and prisoner at the Cook County Jail to vaudeville performer alongside established entertainer and former inmate Velma Kelly (Lana Gordon). 

“She [Roxie] has a clear goal of what she wants to achieve and she’s gonna get it, and she does.” said Andrew P. Jackson, a Performing Arts major at Iowa State University and seasoned actor. 

Jackson is familiar with many broadway shows. He said he has seen “too may to count.” For “Chicago!”, he is quite familiar with the storyline and has seen many different productions, including the movie, which has “artistic differences.”

Throughout the entire show the ensemble stayed on stage, seated in chairs along the wings. They stayed in character and were interactive during the entire production. 

“It was a very minimalist show, very minimal set, same costumes throughout the entire thing, yet it held your attention the whole time,” Jackson said.

The set included a live orchestra on center stage in full view, as if it was also a jazz club. This allowed for seating where the pit traditionally is. 

“That gave the cast the opportunity to break the fourth wall and interact with the audience, which as an actor I love to do and see,” Jackson said.

The interactions included confetti falling, the cast reaching out and talking to specific audience members, as well as Roxie and Velma throwing roses to the audience after their final vaudeville performance. 

Jackson bought his ticket through the rush ticket program that is offered to students who want to see shows at a more affordable cost

“I bought rush tickets the day before the production, it is a very useful and helpful program to have,” Jackson said. “Being a college student it’s hard to shell out $80 for the seventh row tickets we had.”

Tickets are still available for the remaining shows at the Stephens box office or on ticketmaster.