Oh, Chicago! How I love to love you!
I’m talking about the musical, although my heart beats excitedly for the windy city as well.
I first saw the show five years ago while in New York City at the Ambassador Theater, an outstanding architectural landmark. The unusual theater shape and vertical seat placement allowed for an intimate, up-close experience, regardless of a guest’s seating location. Blame it on my almost 30-year dance background, but I am guilty of nit-picking shows when the dance talent falls short of my expectations. I mean, it’s Broadway, no excuses. Thankfully, I clapped harder than ever for that performance and loved every second. Perhaps I fell into a deep first-timer spell, but I believe it was more than that. The acting, dancing, and command of the stage were second to none. Exceptional.
When a friend reached out last month inquiring about my interest in seeing Chicago in Miami, I felt torn. My instinct said, do it! My brain warned, there is no way this will top the NYC experience. I’ll cut to the chase, it did not. But it excelled in many unexpected areas, and all that jazz.
Our beautiful Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts might not have a historical past, but it boasts the promise of a sunny Miami future. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli and located in our ever-growing Downtown Miami, the center occupies 570,000 square feet. Open and airy, the theatre doesn’t allow for that quaint feeling when watching a show. Its glamour and comfort, however, offer a different feel and perspective.
There is a reason Chicago is the longest-running American show. The storyline, a tale of murder, fame, and a whole lot of razzle-dazzle, has proven truly timeless. From the opening scene until the very end, the cast captivated our South Florida audience. Roxie Hart, played by Mexican-born and former Miami resident, Bianca Marroquin, sang and danced her heart out for us. Terra C. MacLeod beautifully performed as Velma Kelly, hitting every note and offering up a perfectly balanced dose of sass and strength. I was surprised to see the addition of actor Jaime Camil, also of Mexican descent. To be honest, I didn’t know who he was and wondered just why the crowd screamed a little louder when he set foot on the stage. But I immediately understood. His voice carried enough poise and power to carry through every inch of the theater. I doubt the role of attorney Billy Flynn has ever been this charismatic and talented. How very fitting to kick off the North American tour, in our city, with two Hispanic leads! In addition, commanding our attention and admiration, the roles of know-it-all Mama, sweet-gullible Amos, angelic Mary Sunshine, and the sexy (and holy smokes fit!) supporting dance cast left it all on that stage.
Tickets are still available for the remaining shows until May 13th. The tour then moves to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. Do it.
Thank you for visiting Miami. We had it coming.