Are you completely obsessed with flappers, gangsters, vaudeville, and the 1920s? Were you finally able to snag those Chicago: The Musical tickets you’ve been vying for? Considering that it’s one of the longest running revivals on the Broadway stage, this musical boasts a storied history of actors; however, the original cast members are the one who really made the show famous.
If you’re currently counting down the days to the show, bone up on your “Chicago” trivia knowledge and anticipate a fun night out. Here’s a “where-they-are-now” look at the original cast of “Chicago: The Musical.”
Roxie Hart: Played by Gwen Verdon
Gwen Verdon originated the show’s Protagonist and wannabe vaudevillian Roxie Hart. Born in Culver City, Calif., Grace grew up in the theater and performance environment. Her mother was a dancer and a real-life vaudevillian, while her father was an MGM studio electrician.
Before her role as Roxie Hart, Verdon moved around from one chorus line to another for many years, living her dream as a dancer until she finally got her big break in the show “Damn Yankees.” In addition to “Chicago: The Musical,” she starred in “New Girl In Town,” “Redhead,” and “Sweet Charity.” She was also in the critically acclaimed show, “Can Can,” in which she won a Tony for her performance as Claudine.
Velma Kelly: Played by Chita Rivera
Before playing the original queen of the cellblock, Chita Rivera went to the Jones-Haywood school of Ballet. When she was just 15, she was one of two students chosen to audition for George Balanchine’s School of American Dance in which she was later accepted. In 1951, she went with a friend to an audition for a part in “Call Me Madam,” and Rivera got the part.
She landed many other parts after that, with probably her most famous role being Anita in “West Side Story.” Besides playing the role as the murderess Velma in “Chicago,” Rivera was in the made-for-TV musical “Pippin,” was a regular guest on “The Judy Garland Show,” and appeared on a 2005 episode of “Will and Grace.”
William “Billy” Flynn: Played by Jerry Orbach
Probably best known as Baby’s father in “Dirty Dancing” and smart-aleck detective Lennie Briscoe on “Law & Order,” Jerry Orbach appeared in such shows as “Guys and Dolls,” “The Fantasticks,” “The Threepenny Opera,” and “Carnival!.” In “Chicago,” he starred as Roxie Hart’s lawyer, William “Billy” Flynn. He also had a recurring role on “Murder, She Wrote” and was the voice of Lumiere, the charming candle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Before he passed away in 2004, one of his final wishes (as he still had perfect 20/20 vision) was to donate his corneas to those who needed them.
Amos Hart: Played by Barney Martin
Mr. Barney Martin began his performing career after serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. He was also a police officer and detective for the NYPD for 20 years before trying his hand at show business.
One of his most notable roles has been as Jerry Seinfeld’s father on “Seinfeld.” Mel Brooks discovered Martin in the late 1960s and gave him a role in “The Producers,” which led him to continue performing on the stage as he played the overlooked Amos Hart in the original cast of “Chicago.”
Matron “Mama” Morton: Played by Mary McCarty
Mary McCarty brought the sassy Matron “Mama” Morton to life. Mary McCarty is also known for her role in the 1959 movie, “Pillow Talk,” as well as her role as Bertha Gardner on “All My Children.” Mary McCarty also played Mother Goose in “Babes in Toyland.”
Mary Sunshine: Played by M. O’Haughey
Born in Peoria, South Africa, M. O’Haughey’s show business career started and ended with her role as the very persistent and somewhat pushy reporter, Mary Sunshine, in the very first “Chicago.”
If you’re looking for tickets to the current (and critically acclaimed) iteration of this production, though, you’ll want to look on ScoreBig.com. Here, you’ll find tickets at prices that are below box-office rates, with zero fees or shipping. It’s a performance you and your family are guaranteed to remember.