The Historic Iao Theater was packed last Friday night for a sneak preview of Maui OnStage's production of "Chicago." Casey Murphy, Lia Krieg and Charles Cook led the cast in three sizzling numbers, "All That Jazz," "We Both Reached for the Gun" and "Nowadays." A week before opening night, the choreography was already clean, sharp and sensual and the vocals pitch-perfect.
Powerhouse performer Lia Krieg commanded the stage as vaudevillian murderess Velma Kelly in "All that Jazz." Casey Murphy as Roxie Hart and Charles Cook as Billy Flynn mastered slapstick and satire as a puppet and puppeteer duo in "We Both Reached For The Gun." Murphy and Krieg wowed the audience with synchronized steps and adroit vocals in "Nowadays."
Combine talent like that with a razor-sharp script full or intrigue, irony, sex and murder, and the production promises to be a roaring hit.
Casey Murphy (left) and Lia Krieg “Fight Over Billy” (Charles Cook in Maui OnStage’s brassy show.
JACK GRACE photo
Elmo and all his friends will take the Castle Theater stage when “Sesame Street Live, 1-2-3 Imagine!” comes to the MACC from July 29 to 31.
2011 Sesame Workshop photo provided by VEE Corporation
The musical "Chicago" is based on a 1926 play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a Chicago Tribune crime reporter who covered the story of murderess Beulah Annan. The inspiration for the character Roxie Hart, Annan shot her lover, Harry Kalstedt, in the back three times for trying to break up with her, and then watched him bleed to death while drinking gin martinis and listening to the same fox-trot recording, "Hula Lou," over and over. After more than two hours, she finally called her husband to tell him that she had killed a man who had "tried to make love to her."
The character Velma Kelly is based on Belva Gaertner, a 37-year-old vaudeville star who was married to a 70-something-year-old wealthy steel industrialist, but had an affair with a 20-something-year-old dancer, Walter Law, while traveling on the vaudeville circuit. In 1923 Law was found dead in Gaertner's abandoned car. She claimed she had been drinking and did not remember what happened. His death was dismissed as a suicide and she was acquitted.
Watkins' sensationalist play was so popular that it ran on Broadway for 172 performances. Cecil B. DeMille produced a silent film version in 1927 starring Phyllis Haver, which was later remade as "Roxie Hart" (1942) starring Ginger Rogers.
In the 1960s, husband-and-wife team Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse approached Watkins about turning "Chicago" into a musical. However, Watkins, who had since become a born-again Christian, believed that the play glamorized a scandalous lifestyle, and refused to sell the rights. Only after her death in 1969 did Watkins' estate sell the rights to "Chicago" to Verdon, Fosse and Richard Fryer.
John Kander and Fred Ebb, inspired by vaudeville musical styles, began work on the now world-famous score. Ebb and Fosse wrote the book and Fosse directed and choreographed the original production.
Now Maui OnStage brings the smash-hit musical to Maui, with all the scandal, hilarity and razzle-dazzle of the original. Do not miss this jazz-hot summer event!
"Chicago" comes to the Historic Iao Theater at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, opening this week through July 31. Tickets are $15 to $40. Enjoy pre-show dinner theater packages with Caf O'Lei in Wailuku or Bistro Casanova in Kahului. Call the Maui OnStage offices at 244-8680 for dinner theater information. For ticket reservations, visit mauionstage. com or call the Maui OnStage box office at 242-6969.
Disney's "Camp Rock, The Musical": Theatre Theatre Maui presents its 19th west-side summer youth production, Disney's "Camp Rock, the Musical," running for one weekend. This popular teen musical is based on the Disney Channel original movies filled with rocking music and lively characters' experiences at summer camp. Kristi Scott directs the cast of 46 youthful performers from Maui, with musical direction provided by Vania Lee Jerome, choreography by Aly Cardinalli, tech direction by Derek Nakagawa and assistant directing by Eric Peterson.
"Camp Rock" shows 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15 through 17, at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa's Haleakala Ballroom in Kaanapali. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Lahaina Music or at the box office at the hotel's Haleakala Ballroom one hour before shows. For more information call 661-1168.
"Honk, Jr.": Sally Sefton directs MAPA's Teen Musical Theater Camp students, grades 6 to 12, in "Honk, Jr," an Olivier-winning, contemporary retelling of the Ugly Duckling story. With music by George Stiles and book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, "Honk" is a fun-filled adventure about overcoming prejudice and discovering the joys of being different.
"Honk, Jr." shows 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, July 15 through 24, at Steppingstone Playhouse. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students. Call 244-8760 or visit mauiacademy.org for tickets.
"Sesame Street Live, 1-2-3 Imagine! With Elmo and Friends": Kids of all ages can imagine singing and dancing with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all your favorite Sesame Street Live friends! It's as easy as counting "1-2-3 Imagine!" This high-energy musical will transport audiences to far away places as Ernie captains the high seas, Elmo dances to the rhythm of the African rain forest and Bert meets an octopus who has the blues. It's a story of adventure and fun that teaches children they can be anyone, do anything and go anywhere with the power of imagination.
"Sesame Street Live" shows at 7 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 29 through 31, in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Tickets are $10, $20, $33, $48 and $73, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.