Windy City cynicism blows into townThe Web site for “Chicago: The Musical” begins with the very words that open the show:
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. You are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery. All the things that we hold dear to our hearts.”
Cynicism is at the core of “Chicago,” and these are cynical times. The Broadway sensation will run from Wednesday to Aug. 3 at the National Theater of Korea on Mount Namsan. The cast is from London, and the production will include Korean subtitles.
The show’s director, Walter Bobbie, noted the similarities between the musical and recent celebrity courtroom cases that have made front-page headlines in the West.
“We’ve seen the Menendez Brothers, we’ve seen O.J. (Simpson),” Mr. Bobbie told the Public Broadcasting System in the United States. “We’ve absorbed that cynicism into our consciousness so that we’re not stunned by it, but we’re provoked by examining the difference between truth and justice and the law, which are clearly very different issues.”
While Korea hasn’t had many celebrity trials, it has had its share of high profile cases ― often involving politicians. Has, and will, justice really be served in these cases?
“Chicago” is based on a 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a Chicago Tribune reporter. In 1975, the choreographer Bob Fosse took the play and turned into a dark parable of American justice. The story revolves around Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who murders her philandering boyfriend. Not only does she avoid being sentenced, she uses the trail to become a star. Helping her is Billy Flynn, a slick lawyer with another murderess client, Velma Kelly.
When the Broadway musical came out in 1975, it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards (but was beaten out for most by “A Chorus Line”). In 1997, “Chicago” was revived with Ann Reinking as choreographer, and went on to win six Tony awards. Rob Marshall directed the film version that won six Academy Awards in 2002.
Starring in the Korean show are Emma Clifford as Ms. Hart, Lisa Donmall as Ms. Kelly and Cavin Cornwall as Mr. Flynn.
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, visit the Web site at www.chicagokorea.co.kr. Tickets cost 40,000 to 120,000 won ($33-$100).