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Ripped from the headlines, ‘Chicago’ makes its way from Broadway to Davis

By From page A11 | December 29, 2011

Femme fatales Velma Kelly (Jennie Ribadeniera, left) and Roxie Hart (Amber Jean Moore) grab the headlines and the stage in the Davis Musical Theatre Company's production of "Chicago," which opens with a special New Year's Eve gala on Saturday. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Check it out

What: DMTC production of “Chicago”

When: 8:15 p.m. New Year’s Eve (featuring a buffet dinner, champagne, desert, party favors and DJ), plus 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:15 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 6-29

Where: DMTC Performing Arts Center, 607 Peña Drive, Davis

Tickets: $50 for New Year’s Eve; $18 general, $16 students/seniors; www.dmtc.org; (530) 756-3684

In 1924, Prohibition was going strong, speakeasys were commonplace and playing fast and loose with rules was a sign of the times. It was during this era that criminals caught the American public’s attention.

In Chicago, murder suspects Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner grabbed the headlines, thanks to riveting coverage by Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, who later wrote a play based on the trials of the two infamous women.

Annan, who was fictionalized as Roxie Hart, committed the murder of her lover and then played a record over and over for two hours before calling her husband to tell him she killed a man who tried to make love to her.

Gaertner, the model for Velma Kelly, found her name in headlines after a man was found slumped over the steering wheel of the cabaret singer’s car. Despite having witnesses give testimony that they saw a woman get into the car and later heard shots fire, Gaertner was acquitted.

Watkins’ play eventually made it to Broadway in 1926 and was made into a silent film the following year. Ginger Rogers starred in a 1942 cinematic retelling, then director/choreographer Bob Fosse’s version of “Chicago” took Broadway by storm in 1975.

Starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach, the show ran for 936 performances, then was revived in 1996 to become Broadway’s longest-running musical revival, with more than 6,200 performances and counting.

Now, the Davis Musical Theatre Company brings the blockbuster show to its stage in January, with a New Year’s Eve gala planned for Saturday evening.

A buffet dinner catered by Ludy’s Main Street BBQ, champagne, dessert, party favors, a live DJ and more are planned at the New Year’s Eve event.

The Tony Award-winning show, with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, is directed by John Ewing and choreographed by Pam Lourentzos. Musical direction is by Steve Isaacson.

The regular run of “Chicago” will be Jan. 6-29, with performances at 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:15 p.m. Sundays at the DMTC Performing Arts Center, 607 Peña Drive in Davis.Tickets to the New Year’s Eve celebration are $50 each. Regular tickets to “Chicago” are $18 general, $16 for students and seniors and $14 per person for groups of 10 or more. To make reservations for the special performance or for the run of the show, visit www.dmtc.org or call (530) 756-3684.For more information, email [email protected].

Enterprise staff

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