Chicago: "All That Jazz"

895 Words4 Pages
Chicago: All That Jazz

The stage performance of Chicago offered a spectacle that I expected before attending the show. I knew there was going to be scantly clad girls with dark makeup and saucy attitudes. The performers brought to life all that was raunchy in the entertainment business during the roaring twenties. The lifestyle in Chicago featured jazz, booze, sex and crime. More importantly, Chicago had beautiful, young women with the dream of having their own Vaudeville act. The two main female characters, Velma and Roxy were two such women hoping to capture the public's attention. The composition of the show is a metaphoric integration of Vaudeville type acts amongst the book scenes and diegetic musical numbers.

Chicago is an example of a concept musical. It would not be realistic to simply accept that a musical that takes place in a jail could have very well been taking place in a nightclub. The concept put forward by the show is metaphorically associating the jail with a Vaudeville stage. This gives the audience a reason to accept that there are perfectly choreographed acts going on in a women's prison. The concept of having an "act" was important to each of the main characters. The show is suggesting that real life is a compellation of acts. In context to the times, the venue for acts was on a Vaudeville stage. The theme of life being an act defined through Vaudeville performances in the show.

The setup of the show was a mix of song, dance and dialogue. The unique quality presented in the show was the Vaudeville type numbers. Vaudeville theatre was very popular variety shows during the 1920's. Star hopefuls start out with an act and hope to be discovered someday. Some types of acts are musical numbers, dance num...

... middle of paper ...

... gave them the edge. I personally feel different when I wear different types of clothes. The types of clothes you are willing to wear define the limits of your attitude. The raunchy costumes allow the performers to become bad, sexy and scandalous.

Chicago is a clear production of artistic boldness. The concept of the musical associates the acts of murder, adultery, and legal proceedings to be metaphorically associated with acts on a Vaudeville stage. All the main characters have an introductory number and even exit music. Well except for Amos of course. The artistic boldness of the show follows through by creating a dark mysterious set. The ambiance is dark and sexy to accentuate the attitude of the performers. Costuming creates the same message as the dark mysterious stage. All these elements put together with Fosse style dance is what makes Chicago bold.

More about Chicago: "All That Jazz"

Open Document