July 03, 2012

‘Chicago’ comes to McLeod Summer Playhouse

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Chicago” comes to the McLeod Summer Playhouse at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a two weekend run, July 6-8 and July 13-15.

The famous Broadway musical is set in Chicago during the Prohibition Era, and tells the story of a would-be starlet whose fame skyrockets when she is arrested for killing her lover.  The musical is based on the 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a criminal reporter.  The Broadway version opened in 1975, and made a re-appearance in 1996.  More recently, in 2002, a film version starred Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rene Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere. 

The McLeod Summer Playhouse production features professional actors, SIU Carbondale faculty and students. Courtney Self and Lori Lusted take the starring role.  Sierra White plays Matron "Mama" Morton, the keeper of the keys.  Jordan McCoy, Samantha Myers, Jeanine Holtgrave, Allison Backus, Jillian Gottlieb play the merry murderesses of the cell block.  Antonia P. Nappo plays Amos Hart, the Mister Cellophane husband, Thomas Eric Morris plays the goody two shoes reporter, Mary Sunshine; and Rodger Baldwin takes his turn as the slick, quick and full of tricks defense attorney, Billy Flynn.  Marla Schulz, Josh Kimball, Frankie Shin, Zak McMahon, Wes Drummond, Jacob Buckenmyer, and Charles Robinson are the talented ensemble.

The play is directed and choreographed by J. Thomas Kidd, the chair of the Department of Theater at SIU Carbondale. Steven Williams designs sets and lights; Tetsuo Tamanaha designed the costumes; and Mike Hanes conducts the on-stage orchestra while Kevin Smith provides musical direction.  

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday shows a 2 p.m. matinee instead.  Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for those 17 years old and younger.  Tickets are available in advance at 618/453-6000, online at SouthernTicketsOnline.com, or in person at the McLeod Theater or Shryock box offices on weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.  Tickets are also available at the door beginning one hour before each performance. The show is recommended for mature audiences.