Chicago comes to Omaha

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September 22nd, 2011

Omaha, NE – The high-energy, jazzy musical Chicago is now playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse. KVNO News spoke with the Playhouse about this local production of the roaring twenties classic.

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Chicago is now playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse, through Oct. 16th.

“I wanted to make sure that we did it full justice musically,” said musical director Jim Boggess. “Half the fun of this show is the pacing of it. If it’s not paced bam, bam, bam, really quick and that pace isn’t kept up, it’s not that it isn’t good, it’s just that you’re not doing it right. It’s meant to be performed slam bam!”

Boggess said he wanted to make sure his singers and dancers weren’t held back by music “that isn’t absolutely first rate.”

Set in Chicago in the 1920s, the local production is based off the original play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins, who wrote the script after reporting about crime in the Windy City as a journalist for many years. To stay true to that roaring twenties style, Boggess said he tried to ensure the rhythm of the music matches the rhythm of the dialogue. He said he wanted his performers to be “not singers who dance, but dancers who sing.”

“The music is very difficult, but it is written with a dancer in mind,” he said. “So between words, you can throw in a high kick, or there’s a little pause where they can do a trick or something like that. So, you have to be true to the feeling of that score.”

In the Omaha Community Playhouse production, there are 22 cast members along with an 11-piece band, which includes Boggess conducting and performing on the piano. The show is now playing through October 16th.

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