The Blue Mountains Musical Society (BMMS) is currently preparing to stage Chicago at the Blue Mountains Theater and Community Hub with performances beginning in late May.
Chicago, established in 1975, is famous for its 1996 Broadway revival and 2002 film, and is loved by dancers around the world. Loosely based on the true stories of two jazz age murderers, the production was originally directed and choreographed by dance legend Bob Fosse.
Dance Captain Bec Blackwell has performed, produced, choreographed and costumed numerous times for BMMS over the past eight years. For this production, she will share the stage with her daughter, Bella, and she is delighted with the idea.
“Chicago has always been one of our favorite musicals to watch together. It’s a dancer’s dream, and it’s in my three favorite musicals,” she said.
Following in Fosse’s footsteps is no small feat and BMMS cast the role to choreographer Emma Joseph, who has acted and choreographed with the company to great acclaim before.
“Emma’s choreography is superb,” Blackwell said, adding that the song Cell Block Tango is her favorite in the series.
“Playing it with so much anger and emotion is so much fun!”
Dance ensemble member and star ensemble swing performer Claryse Prested agrees.
“Cell Block Tango is such a powerful combination of song, storytelling and dance.”
Prested previously worked professionally as an interpreter in the UK. Like most dancers, she loves the show and jumped at the chance to participate.
“I love the music and the choreographic style of Chicago.”
A new face on the BMMS scene is Irene Toro, who stars as Catalina Hernandez (Hunyak). She has a lot of dance experience, having previously run a successful salsa dance school and performed with other musical companies.
“I can’t wait to see how the public reacts to our interpretation of the show.”
Her favorite song on the show?
“Me and Mand baby because of the sheer stupidity of the whole charade.”
Another BMMS newcomer, Tara Lawson, also brings previous musical performance experience to her role as Kitty.
“Since I saw the BMMS production of Jesus Christ Superstar (directed by the same production team as Chicago) I knew I wanted to be part of the musical society. It was this show that inspired me to try musical theatre.”
Like most performers over the past two years, Lawson has missed being on stage and is excited to perform in Chicago.
“I can’t wait to stand under the stage lights and see the audience fill the theater seats. I missed the thrill of performing and being on stage. It’s amazing, and I have hurry !”
Fans of brilliant choreography and great dance numbers in musicals will love this staging of Broadway’s second-longest-running show, which features well-known songs such as All that jazz, Cell Block Tango and Flashy.
“I think audiences will appreciate that this production of Chicago maintains the story, music and choreographic style they know, but will be staged in a new way,” Prested said.
The Blue Mountains Musical Society performs Chicago from May 21 to June 5 at the Blue Mountains Theater and Community Hub. Tickets are available online at www.bmms.org.au, by calling 02 4723 5050 or in person at the venue. Cost is $49 for adults, $45 for concessions, and $39 for youth. A 10% discount applies for groups of 15 or more, and there’s a special price for one night only, Friday, May 27, with all tickets costing $39 each. The theater accepts NSW Discover vouchers for all performances.