As the longest-running musical revival on Broadway and the third longest-running Broadway show ever, “Chicago” the musical allures celebrities and fans alike. This unique story of scorned women set in Prohibition-era Chicago is one that seems to hold cross-generational appeal.
Written so that actors of all backgrounds could play every character, “Chicago” continues to entertain old fans and new audiences alike. Subsequently, numerous musicians and movie stars have appeared in the show as various leading characters. Here are five of the most notable ones.
The most recent celebrity to grace the stage of this production was two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion figure skater, Elvis Stojko. Stojko’s Olympic winnings took place during the 1990s where he took the men’s world champion title during 1994, 1995, and 1997.
He debuted as the lawyer Billy Flynn, who represents chorus girl Roxie Hart in her murder trial. Stojko performed as part of the show through March 23 on Broadway. Then, he joined the North American tour for its Toronto show at the Princess of Wales Theater for an eight-performance run as the same character.
The R&B sensation, Usher, also starred as Billy Flynn. This multi-platinum recording artist and eight-time Grammy winner played the criminal lawyer in this murderous musical from August to October in 2006.
Usher met Bob Fosse, the musical’s director and choreographer, when he was 15 years old. Since then, Usher became fascinated with Fosse’s choreography. He observed Fosse made provocative dancing look charming.
During his run with the production, he received phenomenal reviews from critics. Fans flocked to the show, making it one of the most successful showings of “Chicago” in box office history.
Known for his leading roles in “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” the late Patrick Swayze took to Broadway in December 2003, also in the role of Billy Flynn. Already known as a talented dancer, Swayze didn’t surprise anyone when he ruled the Broadway stage.
Swayze, of course, was no stranger to the Broadway stage anyway. In 1975, he was a dancer in “Goodtime Charley” at the Palace Theatre; he was also an understudy for the role of Danny Zuko in the original Broadway run of “Grease.”
Two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth tackled her third leading role in Broadway’s “Chicago” in 2014. Her first two roles were as Velma Kelly, and she subsequently won a Tony Award in 1996 for her performance. Ten years later, she played Roxie Hart. In her most recent role, 18 years since her Broadway debut, she played Matron “Mama” Morton the Matron of the Cook County Jail who always receives reciprocation for her favors.
Neuwirth has also starred in countless other Broadway musicals like “A Chorus Line,” “Sweet Charity,” “Dancin’,” and more. She was also known for her Emmy-winning performance as Lilith Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier.”
Latin actress Sofia Vergara, who has been acclaimed for her role as Gloria on ABC’s “Modern Family,” also played Matron “Mama” Morton in “Chicago” the musical. She had a five-week run in the national tour in 2009, and she surprised many critics with her crisp, on-key alto vocals. Interestingly enough, Vergara’s run with the production ended shortly before working on the pilot episode of “Modern Family.”
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