By Christopher Heide
ALL THAT JAZZ!!! Issaquah Village Theatre has done it again. A spectacularly bright triumph, its current rendition of Chicago is a gleaming, Broadway-worthy production. High production values, crisp choreography, a frenetic pace and brilliant comedic timing are all markers of this soaring rendition.
The longest running revival in Broadway history, Chicago is a dark and timeless commentary on greed, amorality and fame.Tenacious, contemporary themes create relatable resonance with modern audiences. Director Steve Tomkins shares this sentiment.
“Despite its dark view of life and complete amorality of murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, their struggle to achieve the elusive American dream resonates with audiences everywhere. Even with a hugely successful movie version, and several national tours, it seems that people can’t get enough of Chicago,” said Tomkins.
The entire show is well cast, with a few choice individuals surpassing their big screen counterparts. In particular, Taryn Darr is mesmerizing as Roxie Hart. Her panache, vocal prowess and impeccable emotional range makes Renee Zellweiger look armature at best. Also of tremendous gravitas is Timothy McCuen Piggee as Billy Flynn. A mash-up of sex appeal and charm, Piggee manages to steal almost any scene he’s in. the interactions between Darr and Piggee are highlights amongst the many spectacular moments throughout this rendition.
One of the best parts of Chicago is the bold mix of classic and contemporary choreography, a tribute to the genius of Broadway legend Bob Fosse and a vanguard of modern inspirations. According to Tomkins, “Fosse’s indelible imprint on Chicago resonates in any production. Choreographer Kristin Holland, Music Director Tim Symona, and myself knew we wanted to pay homage to the original production and Fosse’s masterful choreography and yet create a production that was not a copy of the revival. We hope to “Razzle Dazzle” you in a brand new way.”
The talented cast and crew have done just that. With a bountiful energy and sharp creative vision, this production of Chicago is already iconic in its own way. The Village Theatre’s Chicagoruns through July 28th.