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The musical Chicago is famous around the globe, but this theatrical phenomenon arrived at its position of eminence only after a long, strange production history. It began as a 1926 play composed by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, who was inspired by a pair of real-life murders that she covered for the Chicago Tribune. The play, which had no musical elements, was successful enough to inspire a silent film adaptation produced by Cecil B. DeMille (1927), which itself led to a remake, Roxie Hart (1942).
The material later came to the attention of renowned choreographer Bob Fosse, who spent years attempting to secure the rights from the reclusive Watkins. These efforts eventually paid off for Fosse: Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville opened on Broadway in 1975 and would run for 936 performances. A 1979 West End (London) production would also prove highly successful.
All this was prelude to the 1996 Broadway revival. Now titled Chicago: The Musical, the show sported a new book by playwright David Thompson and a strikingly minimalist set. The production was an instant hit, eventually winning six Tony Awards; it currently holds the record as the longest-running Broadway musical revival. The 2002 film adaptation, Chicago, would earn the Academy Award for Best Picture, further enhancing the fame of the stage version. If you haven’t seen this vibrant musical in person, it’s not too late—you can purchase Chicago tickets at FrontRowTickets.com.
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