April 10: ‘All That Jazz’ comes to the West End

Chicago-1979-Programme1979:  The American musical Chicago, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb is set in Prohibition-era Chicago, is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal.”  The original Broadway production opened in 1975 at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for 936 performances until 1977. Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, and his style is strongly identified with the show.

The first West End, London production opened at the Cambridge Theatre this day in 1979 and ran for around 600 performances. It starred Jenny Logan (Shake ‘n’ Vac advert) as Velma Kelly, Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire) as Billy, and Antonia Ellis as Roxie Hart. Ellis (Actress of the Year in a Musical) and Ben Cross (Actor of the Year in a Musical) were nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for their performances, and the musical was nominated as Musical of the Year.

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