Prepare to be Razzled, Dazzled – A Review

“The current production of “Chicago” taking to the Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in Chatham, NY is simply stated, one great evening.”

Is just one of the many wonderful components of CB Wismar’s review of our production of “Chicago.” The review, which can be found on TriCorner’s Website.

Here is the whole review by CB Wismar:

You can tell the storyline of “Chicago” in ten sentences. OK. Maybe twelve if you want to include Go-To-Hell Kitty. The problem would be that by just telling the story, you’d miss out on the incredible Bob Fosse choreography, the John Kander music with lyrics by Fred Ebb, the vivid characterizations of the denizens of 1920’s Chicago and their entirely crazy world.

The current production of “Chicago” taking to the Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in Chatham, NY is simply stated, one great evening. An energized, disciplined and thoroughly likeable cast led by Caitlyn Wilayto as Roxie Hart never stops the momentum of the evening. Wilayto, who is noted as being part of Actors Equity, can sing, dance, pout, charm, mimic, and mesmerize with the best of them. Matched with Bridget Elise Yingling as Velma Kelly, the duo skillfully hearken back to the two “femme fatales” (with all that the term implies) who took the stage in the original Broadway production, Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera. Yingling may not carry and Equity card, but she moves and sings with great energy and presence.

One of the beauties as well as the challenges of the Mac-Haydn Theatre is that its stage is “in the round.” The audience gets an unobstructed view of the small central stage, while the actors have to continue to play to an audience that is always in front of them, on either side and behind them. Choreography becomes a challenge, as there is no proscenium to use for entrances and exits, no upstage and downstage … just stage.

John Saunders’ direction uses every corner, every space and every surface to allow his well instructed cast to keep the evening moving apace. In several scenes when the entire cast is on stage, there is never a trivial “piece of business” to occupy the time and space. Everything works together.

The company sings and dances with crisp coordination, thanks to the adapted choreography by James Kinney. Costume changes are magically fast, scenes flow from one to another without momentum stopping black-outs and the support from the able musicians under the direction of Josh D. Smith makes the evening fly by.

In the classic style of “summer stock” theater, many of the actors, singers and dancers who grace the stage in “Chicago” have been seen before this season in other productions. Much to their credit, they not only move seamlessly from one production to the next, but their acting range is quite evident. Andrew Jordan DeWitt as the hapless Amos Hart, Roxie’s cuckolded husband continues to show his mastery of physical comedy and great timing. His presentation of “Mr. Cellophane” was a tour de force.

The true scoundrel in the middle of this satire of corruption and criminal justice is the jailhouse lawyer, Billy Flynn, whose character embodies one of the wonderful songs – “Razzle Dazzle.” Pat Moran dances, sings, coerces and schemes his way through the role with all the grace and polish of a celebrated heel. His “partner in crime” is Matron Mama Morton played by Aneesa Folds whose voice fills the room, and beyond.

Special mention needs to be made of Chris Hendricks whose portrayal of Mary Sunshine, the bleeding heart reporter, was, in a word, flawless. His falsetto never waivered, even while moving through intricate dance steps.

The Mac-Haydn Theatre is apparently quite responsive to their audience. Inserted in the evening’s program is a ballot inviting theater regulars to identify shows they’d like to see in 2017. If the mass of talent currently billeted in Chatham, NY is any indication of the level of performance skill one can anticipate next season, we would hope that the selections are challenging, the music memorable, the stories compelling … and “All That Jazz.”

“Chicago” continues at the Mac-Haydn Theatre through July 24th. Tickets can be obtained by calling (518) 392-9292 or visiting MACHAYDNTHEATRE.ORG.