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Central Piedmont Community College Summer Theatre's current production, Chicago, managed to fill the auditorium on Father's Day afternoon. This show is one of many that will be staged this summer by CPCC Summer Theatre, featuring actors of a wide range of ages and experience levels. Chicago also featured a live orchestra, wonderfully conducted by Drina Keen.
This particular musical seemed to showcase a lot of the more experienced actors, which makes sense due to the high demand for talented dancers! Especially stunning choreography, artistically envisioned by Tod Kubo, was performed by the two leading ladies: Meredith Zahn as Roxie Hart and Caroline Chisholm as Velma Kelly. True triple threats, these ladies continued to wow the audience without fail as they danced and sang, staying constantly in character.
As the show progressed, we were shown incredible set pieces: the gates used to signify the jail were effective and didn't detract from the action; a court room featuring a full jury; and, most memorable of all, a giant, neon "ROXIE" sign. Things that are done "behind the scenes" are sometimes overlooked, but in this show, the audience couldn't help but see evidence of excellent backstage hands. The set pieces and costumes were all complementary to the exciting and salacious themes of the show as well as the setting, Chicago, Illinois, 1920s.
The orchestra performed their crucial role in this production very well. Their cues were all perfectly timed, which added to the actors' comedic bits. The excellent execution of the music did a lot to infuse the performance with energy.
It's always great to see a production in which the talent doesn't stop with the leads. The entire cast of Chicago demonstrated a wonderful command of their characters. During "Razzle Dazzle," the ensemble demonstrated their marvelous dancing skills and acrobatics, all while singing. At several points in the show, I looked at the cast members who were part of the background and saw each of them going through their own thought processes, still engaged in the performance. Everyone was as genuinely interested in the action as though it were all improvised and new.
Chicago runs until June 25, but CPCC has many more shows that will be staged after it closes, such as Aladdin, Jr., The Mikado, Sleuth, and Sister Act. I highly recommend catching one before the summer is out. For more details on Chicago, please view the sidebar.