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Chicago
a Musical
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Kander and Ebb

COMPANY : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 2491

SHOWING : September 27, 2007 - October 14, 2007

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The Holly Theatre Company’s most anticipated musical of the season will be showing live on stage at the Historic Holly Theatre Sept. 28-Oct 14th.

CHICAGO is a Kander and Ebb musical story of murder, greed and the quest for stardom as two chorus girls in Chicago in the 1920’s prohibition era fight their way top billing with the press. CHICAGO is a true satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and that ever present concept of the “celebrity criminal”. CHICAGO is electrifying with sensational dancing and a dazzling score which includes “ALL THAT JAZZ”. “RAZZLE DAZZLE” and many more.

Recommended for mature audiences due to adult situations and language.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.


CAST & CREW LIST
Choreographer Becky Binion
Technical Director Jamie Fambrough
Director Colleen Quigley Green
Musical Director Leigh Ann McIlvain
spotlight Stephanie Sartain
Fogarty/Harrison Steve Batchelor
Liz Carly Berg
Annie Mariellen Burroughs
Billy Flynn John Certusi
Roxie Stefanie Clouse
Fred Casely Dan Collins
June Katie Collins
Mama Morton Valerie Fambrough
Amos Hart Jamie Fambrough
Cast Susan Foster
Aaron/Jury Justin Green
Velma Kelly Heatherly Nelson
Hunyak Stephanie Neuman
Hunyak Stephanie Nueman
Mary Sunshine Andrew Snider
Harry/Asst. Choreographer Jay Varnedoe
Mona/Go-to-Hell Kitty Rebekah Williams
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Holly's Chicago Rocks!
by lynnwinston
Sunday, October 14, 2007
5.0
You are a fan of local community theater. You are deciding where to shell out your next 15 bucks a seat. You wonder where you will get your money's worth? You read up on some reviews.

Let me be plain and simple.

You will be overwhelmed by the Holley Theater's production of Chicago.

Applause after each and every number.

Enthusiastic, spontaneous standing ovation closing each show.

This is how the production has been enjoyed by audiences at every performance I attended. Go see it.

This is clearly a labor of love by the Dahlonega theater community (mostly volunteer) and all the work pays off in a wonderful, polished, and highly entertaining evening of theater.

Fabulous performers (where did they come from???), superb music (right down to the perfect trumpet "wah wah wahs" opening the show and defining the tone), and knock-your-socks-off dance numbers (I had to reset my pacemaker).

Although the original Broadway version got mixed reviews, it is clear that the world has caught up with Bob Fosse's satirical visions, and Chicago is now an American classic. I think Mr. Fosse would be pleased as punch to see that the Holley has honored his vision by pulling off a powerhouse production, celebrating the old-school traditions of humor, vaudeville, music, dance and All that Jazz! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Thunder Stolen
by BenAround
Friday, October 12, 2007
5.0
I agree with the most recent review on so many points about Chicago at the Holly Theatre.

Outstanding areas:
Director use of space - Excellent use of steps, levels, entrances/exits, scene changes, staging, blocking. The stage does not strike me as "tiny." I felt the show NEVER dragged, but moved seamlessly from scene to scene. "Razzle Dazzle" mentioned earlier certainly had no specific focus, but rather a mesmerizing effect (so Billy-like and correctly staged IMO).

Leads - I did not see a weak lead in this cast. Velma and Roxie made a great pair of dueling divas and each held her own. Mama - Brava, just what I wanted to see. Amos - Perfect for this role, both in choice of casting and the look/portrayal of the meek but toally lovable Amos. I agree with the comment about the musicians paying no attention to him being a perfect ending for his "exit." Billy - not the typically chosen type, but no slouch in the role. His singing and characterization were dead on. Mary Sunshine - Wonderfully campy and added so much to the role.

Ensemble - Excellent way to support the show and take care of all the stage business. I particularly enjoyed All That Jazz, Cell Block Tango and Justin Green's hilarious jury members.

Choreography - Appropriate and exciting throughout the show. This is true for leads and the ensemble numbers as well. Kudos to Velma on the high kicks. It was good to see strong dancing from the men.

Music - Exactly what we need from the instrumentalists. Thanks for a great job supporting the cast in every number. Diction was consistently good throughout the show. Since so much of the story and the majority of the tongue-in-cheek humor is in the music, you pulled this off well too. "Class" is my favorite number and this was no exception.

Negative point - Tiny, tiny complaint about balance sometimes between the singers and band. Either the mics were not working, or not picking up on a couple of places in some numbers, notably the opening of Act 2 when Velma sings "Imagine". Perhaps it is her upstage position that caused that problem? Not sure.

Nice job cast. I look forward to more from you.

Sincerely,
Ben

P.S. Moonie, it was nice to meet you last night. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by missmarib
Thanks, I know that being in the ensemble of this show has been an amazing experience and im glad that you enjoyed it.
:) by mooniemcmoonster
Thank you so much for your review! And it was wonderful to finally be able to put a face with a handle.
And now we are talking....
by thespian1969
Friday, October 12, 2007
5.0
I have been fortunate to see theater in many venues over the years and for community theater, I must say the Holly is by far my favorite. I have often heard it called "The Little Theater that Could" and that certainly is an understatement with their current producition of Chicago. I have seen the show twice and must say it gets better and better.

Becky Binion's choreography is true to the Fosse style and pizzaz and the ensemble handles it with great precision and poise.

Colleen Green's direction is right on the target for me. The show flows well with no lags or slow downs. She has truly brought together one talented cast of performers.

Heatherly Nelson brings Velma to life. Her energitic performance from start to finish is amazing. Her voice is strong, acting is flawless and dancing is nothing short of amazing. She has many moments of comedy and the timing is great. I have seen her in productions before and this is my most favorite performance to date.

Stephanie Grasier is an adorable Roxie. Her voice and dancing are very strong for someone at a young age. Her monologue before the song "Roxie" is both cute and funny. Her facial expressions are priceless.

Valerie Fambrough is one my favorite Mamas. She is strong, in charge and can belt out a song like its nobody's business. She delivers her lines directly and with great timing.

Jamie Fambrough brings out the pitifulness (if thats a word) of Amos from start to finish. And speaking of finish, when he asks for his exit music and the band is ignoring him is a culminating moment for his character and he simply says "Okay" and slide offstage...great!!

John Certusi as Billy brings his own to the character. He was nothing like Richard Gere or sleazy. I felt he moved from both suave to greasy depending on the point in the show and has a very strong voice and it certainly showed.

A. Snider as Mary Sunshine was excellent. The song was very cute, funny and captured your attention. The point in the show were Mary Sunshine is unveiled is unhillarious as he exits. He was another bright spot in this great production.

Rather than go on and mention each ensemble member (and I could), I will say that this ensemble was strong as a group and very spot on with the many moments they assume the smaller roles in the show. Stand outs include Jay Varnedoe in the "Tap Dance" scene, Susan Foster and Justin Green in the courtroom, and Stephanie Neuman as Hunyak and all that Hungarian she had to learn. Cell Block Tango was "HOT" and all the girls were Fantasitic! Mona was adorable!

Lastly and not least the BAND. Leigh Ann McIvain's direction and musical style was also fantastic! Every number was strong and excellent. The moment with Amos was totally hillarious and brought the band right into the show as it should be. The applying of lipstick, reading newspapars were spot on with Amos.

Again, a fantastic performance with a strong cast. The Holly certinaly has something else to be proud of. Its just gets better and better.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
OOPS! by thespian1969
Okay, I messed up Roxie's real name!! Sorry!!! It would be Clouse :)
A Tale of Two Chicago's
by g8grrl
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
3.5
I've seen two Chicago's in recent weeks. One was at the Cumming Playhouse and one is currently at the Holly in Dalonaga. I'm combining my reviews by comparing the strengths and weakneses of both.


^^ Strengths ^^

Both theaters are gorgous!

The ensemble is stronger at the Holly. And overall the Holly's acting and singing is so much better.

The leads, with one exception, were so much stronger at the Cumming Playhouse.

The direction at the Cumming Playhouse was very creative and exciting.

The chorus singing and dancing is so much stronger at the Holly.

I loved the Velma at Cumming.

I loved the Roxie at the Holly.

The Billy Flynn at Cumming was HOT!

Whoever the cute guy is at the Holly who did those fab tricks is sooo amazing!

I really like the Amos in Cumming.

I really liked the Mama at the Holly.

The band was very exciting at Cumming. Yea!

I loved the costumes at the Holly. If you got it, flaunt it! Oh yea baby!


^^ Weaknessess ^^

I didn't like the Roxie at Cumming at all. She stuck out so bad she almost ruined the show for me.

I didn't care for the Velma at the Holly. Although not bad like the Roxie at Cumming, she didn't have the flair and pizzaz I wanted to see.

I didn't care at all for the ensemble cast at Cumming.

I was soooo dispointed in the Billy Flynn at the Holly.

The supporting men in the cast were mostly lame in Cumming.

I didn't like the Amos at the Holly.

The chorography at both shows was very lame. I guess its hard to do Fosse in community theater. It really shows.

The show ran 30 minutes longer at the Holly. Sometimes it drags like molasis.

I was disgusted by the costumes at Cumming. If you ain't got it, hide it. Jelly bellies are gross!


^^ Conclusion ^^

Both shows get a B-. I liked how the Cumming show looked and feeled. But the Roxie in Cumming made an A production into a low B. The Holly show is not well directed, but the cast and energy is better overall, and makes the show just as enjoyable. Good job both Chicago's! Woot!!!
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
im sorry g8grrl by happymeal818
I loved the show at the Holly so much more then the one in Cumming. I thought the choreography was so much better and I loved the girl that played Velma at the Holly and I thought it was very well directed at the Holly and i didnt think the dancing was lame at all! Billy amazed me at the Holly and so did Amos. Amos amazed me at both places! Im sorry you felt this way but I loved it!
happymeal by g8grrl
I am sooo with you, the dancing was sooo much better at the Holly than at Cumming. Just not professional like Bob Fosse. That's all. And your Velma was okay, but the Velma at Cumming was great.

by ANeil
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
2.0
I saw this show last weekend, Sunday matinee. I was reluctant to review the show because of the obvious backlash a negative review seems to have on this site. So i will try to be as constructive as possible, first of all let me mention the things i liked, i did like the few Fosse poses, I liked the costumes especially Liz's and Roxie and Velma for Hot Honey Rag. I thought Mama Morton played the part well and i enjoyed watching her. This entire cast seem to be talented, but i thought the direction was lacking. Most obvious in the courtroom scene. I liked Roxie, thought she had a pretty voice when i could hear it (she sang WAY too low), i thought for this part though it should be more gritty and less angelic, I never did warm up to Velma. I thought Class was the best number and i liked the circus tricks in Razzle Dazzle. The only cell block girl that stood out was Liz, i enjoyed her and was impressed she was only 15. The rest of the choreography was quite boring and un imaginative. I dont think one of those girls even broke a sweat up there. The band played the music painfully slow, at times it sounded like circus music, the worst was All That Jazz. This show just lacked energy and pizzaz. I thought Billy was wrong for the part, i picture him suave, a lady's man and this Billy just didnt sell me on it. This is a challenging show to do, so many elements have to come together and be tight, and this production just didn't deliver.

[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
The Courtroom Scene... by mooniemcmoonster
What was it specifically about the courtroom scene in that screamed "lack of direction" to you? Just curious because we tried several approaches before deciding on what we did. Its just one of those long, tedious, anti-climactic scenes injected into an otherwise rollicking, debaucherous, fast-paced show (though not according to your review ;)) It is what it is.
To clarify... by mooniemcmoonster
I just re-read my comment I just posted and though I didn't intend for it to be it could potentially be interpreted as sarcastic or defensive. That's not the way I meant it AT ALL. I genuinely am curious about your thoughts concerning the courtroom scene. I just wanted to clarify that because I am not at all offended by your review nor do I feel like there is anything to be defensive about.

As interesting as what you chose to comment on (i.e. Liz's costume)is what you chose to omit (specifically Amos). I am uber intrigued. Almost as interesting as what you chose to comment on is what you chose to omit from your review entirely.

Just as an added note while I'm writing this, you must not have been sitting up front for the performance you saw because I'm pretty sure that "Annie" and I ("Mona/Go-To-Hell Kitty) sweat like whores in church for the entire first act of the show. Actually, its kind of gross. I'm not at all proud of my glandular issues, but I'm just sayin' :) hehehehe
Slow music? by the_unlikely_thespian
How odd. At no time did I think to myself "Ow! This music is dragging." Funny how perceptions vary.

As for Billy, Richard Gere was suave. IMO, Billy Flynn should be greasy. Slimy. I think that might be what mas missing for me from this Billy. I wanted more "greasy."

"Liz" is talented, I've seen her before in other shows and she is good. But her age put me off a little in this show.

OK, now it's my chance by BenAround
I have tickets for Thursday night's show so I can check out the tempos, amount of sweat from the dancers, direction, appropriateness of casting, venue and stage size, and everything else mentioned about this show for myself (LOL).

Seriously, I can't wait to see this show. I so enjoyed MFL that I cannot imagine Chicago not being well done at the Holly. I actually think your stage and theatre is PERFECT for Chicago. The atmosphere seems "right" to me.

I promise to post my true findings here for all to see and pick apart on Friday. This is one of my all-time fav's so I do have some frame of reference other than the movie (which I also liked, contrary to several folks here).

Break another leg, Moonie!
Ben
sweat by missmarib
all i have to say is HAHAHAHAHA. i sure as hell do sweat. Its actually gross when I pull off my mic to give to Susan.

and of course Liz was amazing cause personally the chic playing her was born a bad ass.

ta-da the end. I wont say anything else because i feel more then honored to be in show..... and as we say "he had it comin...."
by ANeil
I commented on Liz's costume because i thought it was different, it stood out. The courtroom scene was hard to follow simply because there are people all over the set, there's no focal point, thats just my view on it. I didnt comment on other performers because i really had no comment, i mentioned those that stood out, and tried to keep my comments more toward the show as a whole instead of taking apart every performer. I think we all do the best we can with where we are at in the process of the craft. I have seen 2 other stage versions of this show and the movie (the movie is comparing apples to oranges) so i had something to comapare it to, the other 2 shows made me wish i was on stage with them, the show was full of energy and i didnt want it to end. This show was okay it just wasent great, that dosent mean others won't love it, everyone's a critic, right!?
The Courtroom = A Three-Ring Circus by mooniemcmoonster
I personally think the entire point of the courtroom scene is that it is, in fact, a three-ring cirus (note that "Razzle Dazzle" immediately beforehand is all about the circus). In a three-ring circus you have three performance spaces for simultaneous perfomances, therefore eliminating a specific focal point.

That's just my $0.02...but if the lack of a focal point was the issue you had with the courtroom scene then I think that's more of a compliment than a criticism.
NO SWEAT!! WHOA DUDE! by happymeal818
I wasnt in the show but my dad was so i was at all the rehearsals and i happen to know that these girls worked their butts off! And that dancing is hard. Im not being dfensive but you are so wrong about this dude! They sweat their butts off so much every night! You have no idea!
Razzled and Dazzled
by the_unlikely_thespian
Sunday, October 7, 2007
4.5
Yup. I've got the dreaded "new" icon. I know the TheaterReview community is a bit sensitive to "bungie" reviewers these days so I'm going to admit up front that I'm signing up to post this review. In my defense, I have been lurking here for some time and just haven't gotten 'round to signing up and this pushed me over the edge.

And while I'm disclaiming, I'll go ahead and admit that I am somewhat of a Holly Theatre regular. I have worked with many of these performers before. But I have had nothing to do with this show aside from planting my behind in one of the seats on opening weekend. (OK, I did audition...but the less said about that, the better ;-) I hope I will show no bias because of my affiliation, but you have been warned.

One final comment before I begin. Even though I live in the area, I did *not* get to see the Rosewater Theatre Company's production of Chicago. So I have no point of comparison.

====

If you are not familiar with the Holly Theatre, let me say that it is a tiny venue. The stage is very small. This can be both a blessing and a curse. In the case of Chicago, if it was a curse to the Technical Director, it didn't appear that way to the audience. The set sparkled (literally) and was well suited to the action. There was no point at which I said to myself, "the set isn't working here."

For the fun of it, let's kick it off with the Ensemble instead of the leads. In this case this small group of performers covered the dancing and the bit parts. They did it with style. The ensemble for Chicago in my view needs to be talented and tight. And for the most part, this ensemble did deliver. Dancing was usually tight and I liked the choreography, though to disclaim even further, as a dancer I make one helluva singer. ;-) But I think I know good dancing when I see it. One or two of the Cellblock Tango ladies did strike me as looking a bit too young, but that takes nothing away from their talents.

There were a few performances that especially caught my eye. In no particular order:
o Dan Collins' Fred Casely.
o A surprise performance involving a stick and a plate--which may have been Dan Collins too, I didn't take notes.
o TheaterReview's own mooniemcmoonster made lots out of her time on stage. And she played the character with the Greatest. Name. Ever. Who among us wouldn't want to be known as Go-To-Hell-Kitty?
o Justin Green's weeping woman during the courtroom scene, while coming perilously close to upstaging, was terrifically funny.

A standout scene for the whole group was "Razzle Dazzle." Full of surprises and energy.

====

Leads....Let's start with Roxie. Stefanie has a good stage presence for one so young. She has a pretty singing voice, though I would've liked a bit more oomph out of it. Perhaps it was a trick of the sound system that night. I liked her characterization. A scene that stands out in my mind was her performance as the dummy in "We Both Reached for the Gun." Terrific facial expressions.

Velma. Wow. Look up "triple threat" in the dictionary, and there's Heatherly's picture. Her singing style was spot on. Serious stage presence. Great Velma attitude. And she put every ounce of herself into the dance that night (and every other night too, I'll bet) Standouts...well there were lots, but I particularly loved her scenes with Mama Morton. "Class" is a favorite of mine and they did it just right. Fantastic overall performance!

Which brings me to Mama. Valerie has a lovely singing voice. Which might be thought of as a handicap for Mama, but she brought the attitude too, and it worked. (I have to admit that I'm a sucker for a good singing voice.) In addition to "Class," "When You're Good to Mama" was a standout. I might have wished for a little less Queen Latifah and a little more of Val there, but that's just a nit.

As I said, I'm a sucker for singers, so let's talk about John Certusi as Billy Flynn. The man has got an incredible set of pipes on him. His bio indicates that he was a touring singer in the 70's and I believe it. His voice still has lots of clout. His acting was fine, though perhaps a bit flat at times. But his singing served him well. I enjoyed all of his songs but a standout was the last note of "We Both Reached for the Gun." It went on and on and on. All with terrific pitch and tone. (Yes, I'm jealous. ;-)

Jamie Fambrough did a good job as Amos. Amos might be the hardest character in this show to get a feel for. He has to be milquetoast, forceful and a galoot all at the same time. He managed that well. I wanted a little more "over the top" at times in "Mr Cellophane." It's a "pity me" sort of song, but there were times when I wanted more punch. But overall I liked his performance.

Last, but not at all least, of the leads was Mary Sunshine. A. Snider's performance did not surprise me in the least. I have seen "A" perform before in smaller roles and "A" has always made the most of those roles. I loved the characterization. The music written for Mary Sunshine is not easy and it was clear that they had to make some compromises to accommodate "A's" voice, which was a little disappointing. But in the end the character won the day.

====

The band was generally hot. I noted some issues with the trombone now and then, but most of the music was tight. Hats off to Leigh Ann and the gang. I was tickled by the fact that they had Butch, the drummer, in a cage. ;-)

Oh, and I'm here to tell you that Henry Higgins blows a mean horn. :-)

====

In conclusion, go see it. It's worth the drive to Dahlonega. Dahlonega's a quaint town and the view of the mountains can be breathtaking. Make a day of it and go. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
The Holly is a tiny venue? by Okely Dokely
That's interesting that you think it's tiny. That's not an adjective that comes to mind for me when I think of a theatre with a balcony and a stage that regularly has two-story sets and flyspace.

Good review, though. Not meaning to attack. Just thought your word choice was interesting.
Tiny space? by Shadrach
You want to see a tiny theatre space? Check out Polk Street Players' stage. That's the smallest local stage I've ever set foot on (and will never do so again - had a terrible working experience there, but that's another story).
Tiny wings and backstage by the_unlikely_thespian
OK, maybe "tiny" is the wrong word for the venue. But I think the stage itself is pretty tiny. Yes, the sets are often 2 stories and there is fly space, but the wings and backstage are all but non-existent. And the stage can be a mite cramped. Some of the shows I've been in have suffered from lack of dance space. (Of course, that's part of the charm and the fun.)



Since we tore out some of the walls and remodeled a bit, there is a tiny bit more depth to work with than there was this time last year.
Re: Tiny Space by Alan Stacy
Tiny depends on selection of shows and number of castmembers. I've seen one show at the Holly and while it did seem a little bit crowded at times I, too, was impressed with their use of the flyspace. Most community theaters would kill for some flyspace. Any flyspace.

Yes,Polk Street's stage is very small, but I've performed there twice, one great experience and one just okay, but neither impression had to do with the size of the stage. In fact, I considered it fun and challenging (not to mention a very enjoyable environment). I'm no pro actor, but in my opinion a good actor will rise to the physical limitations he's up against. After all, we're all volunteers...no diva's in these theaters, eh? I look at it this way. Imagine how a tiny actor/actress feels when performing solo on a giant stage. Their job is to make the stage appear tiny. Big guys have the opposite responsibility. My best to you all.
Thanks?? by jubjubbrd22
It's Valerie. I feel the need to say that I haven't seen the movie since it came out in theaters and I kinda hated it. So I guess I'll take that small little "nit" as a compliment. I really don't remember what Queen Latifah was like in the movie...thanks?
Re: Thanks?? by the_unlikely_thespian
Fair enough. I thought I caught a hint of it. As I said, it was a nit. Pretty much my whole review was just nits. The show was top notch, what I noted were just picky details. I stand by the rest of my comments about you. :-)
Thanks?? by jubjubbrd22
Thank you! I know I shouldn't have said anything, but I was kinda proud that I hadn't watched the movie to base my character on. I did find a few YouTube clips of productions in Spanish. They were pretty fun to watch, even though I really didn't know what they were saying!!!!!
AMAZING!
by happymeal818
Saturday, October 6, 2007
5.0
This show is amazing! Everyone is so great. I've seen every show except one. They get better every night. This has to be the best show that the Holly has done! Congratulations to all the cast and crew for making this show the best that it could be! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by missmarib
hehehe :D


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