Chicago in Dubai - we speak to three of the stars of the show
The hit stage musical Chicago blows into Dubai with its story of revenge, murder and greed. We spoke to the three stars of the show.
TERRA MACLEOD plays VELMA
Sum up the plot of Chicago for us. The story centres around two women, Roxie and Velma, who have committed murder and are awaiting trial. They’re represented by a smooth-talking lawyer, Billy Flynn.
What do you like about your character? Her tenacity. She starts the show at the top of her game and within minutes watches it disappear. But she fights on. The word ‘no’ is not an option for Velma.
Is it a physically gruelling show to perform? I wouldn’t use the word gruelling, but it’s hard work, of course. I feel like I’m being shot out of a cannon every time I’m on stage.
Which is the song that stands out for you personally? I love the lyrics of Nowadays. The message I get from that song is to be in the moment. Everything changes, nothing stays the same, but it’s the here and now that matters.
Why is Chicago such a hit on stage? It’s simply a brilliant piece of theatre. It’s timeless and there is truth behind it. It’s what I call ‘the real deal’ of theatre.
What did you think of Chicago the film? It’s such a great movie. I remember watching it in the cinema thinking to myself: I have to do this show. Everyone did a wonderful job.
Is it hard to play your role, having already seen someone else do it on stage or on screen? Not at all. It could be intimidating, but I chose to look at it from a different point of view in that I follow some amazing actresses who have played Velma over the years. I feel fortunate to play the same role as them.
How many times have you performed the role on stage? I’ve been in the show on and off since 2003 so I stopped counting long ago. But no matter how many times I’m on stage playing Velma it never gets old.
Ever been to Chicago the city? Yes, what a place. We’re touring there next year. Performing Chicago in Chicago is such a trip.
ANNE HORAK plays ROXIE
Describe your character. Roxie has a hunger for fame and stardom and is willing to go to almost any lengths to achieve it. Unlike Velma, Roxie is childish but still manages to be cunning and manipulative to achieve what she wants.
What do you like about your character? Roxie Hart is one of the greatest female characters in musical theatre history. It’s a true honour to bring her to life on stage in a show that has made such a mark in musical theatre. She’s funny, smart, naive, selfish, ruthless and steely all at the same time. She makes quite a journey from the beginning to the end of the show.
Is it a physically gruelling show to perform? It can be, especially on days where we do two shows, but it’s a welcome feeling as the show is so much fun to perform.
Why is Chicago such a hit on stage? It’s a combination of a great story, the fantastic Kander and Ebb score, and of course the dancing, originated by [legendary choreographer] Bob Fosse.
What did you think of Chicago the film? Loved it. I thought [the film’s director] Rob Marshall was extremely successful in transferring the stage musical to the screen.
Is it hard to play your role, having already seen someone else do it on stage or on screen? Not at all. It’s important to research and you may be able to get ideas from watching others play the role, but in the end, you take all the information you’ve gathered and make the character your own.
Ever been to Chicago the city? Yes. And it’s one of my favourite cities in the US.
BRENT BARRETT plays BILLY FLYNN
Describe your character. Billy is the silver-tongued defence lawyer who gets Roxy acquitted. I think of him as a combination of used-car salesman and a television evangelist.
What do you like about your character? He knows how to manipulate every situation.
Is it a physically gruelling show to perform? The dancers have a much more demanding show physically than I do.
Why is Chicago such a hit on stage? The revival opened after two televised, sensational murder trials in the US. I think it speaks to how jaded our society has become. The music is great, the book is smart and funny, and the dancing is very sexy.
What did you think of Chicago the film? The director Rob Marshall did a fantastic job of opening the stage show up for the screen.
Is it hard to play your role, having already seen someone else do it on stage or on screen? No. Everyone has their own take on the role.
How many times have you performed the role on stage? I’ve been playing Billy on and off for more than 14 years, both on Broadway and on tour, so I’ve lost track of how many shows I’ve done.
Ever been to Chicago the city? A few times. It’s a great city.
December 19 to January 3. Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, Dhs245. Tel: (04) 4573212. Metro: World Trade Centre. yakevents.com