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Q Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand
31 October-22 December 2013

Presented by Auckland Theatre Company
Written by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse; directed by Michael Hurst

Velma Kelly
  Lucy Lawless  
  Michael Hurst
Roxie Hart
  Amanda Billing  
  Shona McCullagh
Billy Flynn
  Shane Cortese  
Musical Director
  John Gibson
Amos Hart
  Andrew Grainger  
Set Designer
  John Harding

Mama Morton

  Colleen Davis  
Costume Designer
  Leslie Burkes-Harding
  Sandra Rasmussen  
Lighting Designer
  Sean Lynch
Liz/Foreman/Squaw/Fire Girl/Chorus
  Hannah Tasker-Poland  
Dance Captain
  James Luck
  Lavinia Uhila  
  Rebekkah Schoonbeek  
  Katie Swift  
  Stephen Thomas
  Will Barling  
  Brett Adams
  Stephen Butterworth  
Sax and others
  Jeff Henderson
Fred Casely/Aaron/Harry/Chorus
  Mike Edward  
  Cameron McArthur
  James Luck        

From the Director

CHICAGO, "A story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery".  Miscarriages of justice, extra-marital affairs, lying poiticians, corrupt lawyers, mindless reality television shows, the prurient interest of the public and the press in the salacious activities of celebrities, the hollow ring of democracy in the face of self-interest  - sound familiar?  "Plus ca chance, plus c'est la meme chose."

In accordance with Shakespeare's maxim that the purpose of theatre, or "playing", is to "hold the mirror up to nature" (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2), we have given CHICAGO a bit of a shake.  For me, theatre shold never be too safe.  We should always be seeking to provoke, to surprise and to stimulate, as well as to entertain.  Productions that preserve ideas in a kind of theatrical aspic do little to transport audiences.

It was with this in mind that I invited John Gibson and Shona McCullagh to work with me on CHICAGO, and we have had a fabulous time making it together.  Without Shona's choeographic genius and John's musical brilliance, there would be no show, and I am deeply grateful to them for both their commitment to the idea and their willingness to take things further.

I want to thank John Harding and Lesley Burkes-Harding too, set and costume despgners, with whom I spent many stimulating hours working through the possibilities for this production.  Their well-honed sense of theatre and story development, and their invigorating approach to problem solving were invaluable in developing both the look and flow of the work.

Then there is the talented, scintillating and at times absolutaly crazy cast.  It's been a joy and a privilege to explore this material with them.  We've worked really hard, we've had fun (what point would there be to it if we didn't?) and we've made something that I believe will resonate with audiences of all ages.

"Come on babe, we're gonna brush the sky ... "

-Michael Hurst

20/20 segment on Amanda Billiing's journey to doing Chicago. 7 November 2013
Featuring scenes from the show, rehearsals, interviews, etc.

Interviews with Amanda Billing and Lucy Lawless

Amanda Billing and Lucy Lawless sing Nowadays; Shane Cortese sings Razzle Dazzle

Lucy Lawless

Hannah Tasker-Poland

Mike Edward; Livinia Uhila

Colleen Davis, Lucy Lawless

Livinia Uhila, Colleen Davis, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Rebekkah Schoonbeek

Amanda Billing; Andrew Grainger

Amanda Billing; Andrew Grainger

Shane Cortese, Will Barling, Livinia Uhila, James Luck

Shane Cortese

Shane Cortese, Amanda Billing

James Luck

Amanda Billing

Lucy Lawless, Amanda Billing

Amanda Billing

Andrew Grainger

Lucy Lawless, Shane Cortese

Lucy Lawless

Lucy Lawless

Hannah Tasker-Poland

Mike Edward, Rebekkah Schoonbeek, Shane Cortese, Andrew Grainger, Amanda Billing

Amanda Billing

Lucy Lawless

Lucy Lawless

Amanda Billing, Lucy Lawless

Year-End Kudos


Lumiere Reader:  "One of the highlights of the year ... An explosion of sex and spectacle, Michael Hurst's production turns a musical that maybe isn't as great as its reputation into one of the best two and a half hours of the year".


Chicago Reviews

NZ Herald:  "With this fabulous, fast-tempoed spectacle of sizzle and sass, Michael Hurst once again proves himself an exceptional director of musical theatre, an auteur of clever, sexy noir with strong conceptual vision and stylistic flourish".

Theatreview:  "Michael Hurst's inspiring take on the classic musical is daring, fresh, dynamic, and bristling with sexual energy. ... world-class production ... go see it".

Theatre Scenes: "If you think you know Chicago, leave your expectations at the theatre door.  The stockings haven't just been rolled down, they've been ripped completely off in this down and dirty, hyper-sexualized re-imagining of the Kander and Ebb musical from the warped mind of virtuoso Michael Hurst ... If this triumphant production played in the main theatre centres of the world, I suspect it would be heralded as a major new revival.  Hurst plays fast and loose, allowing us to discover a Chicago that is immediate and cynical.  More importantly:  it is startlingly entertaining".

Lumiere Reader:  "Go and see Chicago.  It's the most fun I've had in a theatre in a long time, and is easily the best musical I've seen all year".

TV3:  "Auckland Theatre Company's reimagining of the Broadway classic ... is executed with director Michael Hurst's trademark flair. ... Hurst has taken the much-loved story and injected it with that winning trifecta: sex, drugs and rock 'n roll".

Metro:  "Director Michael Hurst has modernised and re-interpreted this seminal work. ... Shona McCullagh's choreography is demanding and glorious. ... A ticket to this vibrant, take-no-prisoners and cheering show ... is a worthwhile extravagence".

Listener:  "Director Michael Hurst and his team of collaborators bring bucketloads of the old razzle-dazzle".

NBR:  "Director Michael Hurst knows how to use actors and dancers to great effect and has created a scintillating show of sexual beauty, energy and tension".

Gay Express:  "Directed by Michael Hurst, Chicago is easily ATC's best show since Hurst's 2010 Cabaret. ... There's a big buzz around this show at the moment and it's completely justified".

Keeping Up with New Zealand:  "it's easy to be carried along with the Chicago madness with lots of whoops, cheers and gasps bounded around the theatre ... Congratulations have to go to Michael Hurst for creating this sexy spectacle of murder, money and media manipulation".

Stuff:  "it's bloody good fun ... the show is edge-of-your-seat-tapping-your-leg good times from start to finish.  Go see it".

Diversions: "This production has taken the story to a whole new level, it's unforgettable and breathlessly amazing ... ".