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!