When Roxie Met Velma: CHICAGO Rarities

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! In this post, we’re celebrating the Original Broadway production of Chicago (1975), which closed 40 years ago this month. Perhaps the best known score by Kander & Ebb — due in large part to a long-running revival (that I find aesthetically far beneath the original production, which was subtitled a Musical Vaudeville) and the successful 2002 film adaptation — Chicago is now Broadway royalty. But, there’ll never be a better production than the first. Don’t believe me? Well, take a listen to some excerpts from live audio recordings (all of which are available to subscribers who comment below)!

First, from the Original Philadelphia Tryout, here’s Chita Rivera leading the company in “All That Jazz.”

From Opening Night of the Original Broadway Production — my favorite audio, by the way — here’s Gwen Verdon with “Roxie.” (No one has done this song better, as far as I’m concerned!)

From the same audio, here’s Jerry Orbach and company with “Razzle Dazzle.”

Much has been made about Liza Minnelli stepping into the Roxie role when Verdon was out for two months recovering from surgery. From a sound system recording, here’s the diva herself with “Funny Honey.” (Both this and another Liza audio — taken from the audience — are available to subscribers.)

And although this post is in honor of the Broadway production, let’s celebrate the 1979 London cast, too! From a live audio of Opening Night, here’s Ben Cross, Jenny Logan, and company with “We Both Reached For The Gun.”

And, lastly, from a full video of a later London company (taken sometime in 1980 — seems like a soundboard recording is synced up to a separate video feed), here’s Antonia Ellis with “I Can’t Do It Alone.” (It’s also available in full to subscribers!)



Come back next month for another Musical Theatre entry! And tune in tomorrow for more of The Larry Sanders Show!

24 thoughts on “When Roxie Met Velma: CHICAGO Rarities

  1. One of my top ten favorite Broadway musicals, if only because it is one of the few scores which I can play again and again and never tire of. Thanks for sharing these rarities with us!

  2. I have to agree with you. Saw the original Chicago and loved it. The movie was good but not as good as the live show. Jerry Orbach was terrific. Id love to hear what you have of these live shows.

  3. One of my favorite shows. Chita, Gwen, Jerry, Fosse and Kander & Ebb at their peak. Please share the “Chicago rarities” with me. Thanks!

  4. I’d like to have the audio recordings you mentioned.

    Gwen Verdon is one of my favorite performers. I wish more of her work on stage had been taped.

    Thanks for sharing these rare audio recordings with us, and always responding so quickly. I really appreciate it. If you know more about the dates of recording, please let me know.

  5. Thank you so much for the Liza audio. I had this and the other one as well as the opening night audio. Love this show.

    • Hi, madonnathewarneryears! Thanks for reading and commenting — and subscribing.

      I assume you’re interested in these audios, so I have emailed you at your gmail address.

  6. Love this post! I am interested in listening to some of the other audio recordings if they are available! Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to hear such an amazing show as never before!

  7. Hi I’m a big fan of the musical Chicago and I wanted to thank you for posting these very valuable recordings, I was wondering if you had any footage of the 75 production with Chita, Gwen and Jerry? Thank you

    • Hi, Michael! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Footage? No, I’m afraid I don’t have anything from the original production that isn’t already findable with a YouTube search.

    • Hi, Jeannie! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Please subscribe to this blog using your preferred email address and I will send access to the London audio your way!

    • Hi, Bob! Thanks for reading and commenting — and subscribing.

      I have emailed you at your icloud address.

Comments are closed.