After a ho-hum kickoff, the Broadway in Bryant Park concert series returned Thursday to its second week with a roar. Big Broadway players like Chicago and Catch Me If You Can showed up with their lead actors and off-Broadway fare like Million Dollar Quartet (new to the “off” title) and NEWSical proved strong.
First up were the guys (and gal) from Million Dollar Quartet, which is readying for its off-Broadway bow at the end of the month at New World Stages (it’s transferring from Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre). Much like Baby It’s You!, this weak show plays the Bryant Park venue fierce as a concert-style performance. Leave the story at home—bring in the hits. Their set list was similar to last year’s, but Robert Britton Lyons bring focus as Carl Perkins and Eddie Clendening is still right on as Elvis Presley. At six songs, their set list could have been cut by two, and they sadly did not perform their signature Britton-Lyons-stands-on-the-bass closing pose this year. Lazy musicians.
The old stalwart Chicago took the stage next, and felt anything but old this year. This was large in part due to Christopher Sieber, one of Broadway’s most reliable leads, bringing his charisma and rubbery face to the stage as Billy Flynn. He led the cast in “We Both Reached For The Gun,” which played great, visually, due to the marionette-like choreography. Melissa Rae Mahon, who was featured in Stage Rush’s Chicago episode of Ensemble Watch, played the part of Roxie alongside Sieber, and delivered her character’s title number with delicious sass.
VIDEO: Christopher Sieber sings “We Both Reached For The Gun” from Chicago
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In this second part of Ensemble Watch, Melissa Rae Mahon and James T. Lane of Chicago discuss stunt casting, learning numerous versions of choreography for numbers, and perform their favorite dance steps from the show.
Did what Melissa and James said about knowing numerous versions of musical numbers surprise you, Rushers? How do you feel about some choreography being “watered down” for certain stars?
Kicking off Ensemble Watch, the series that highlights ensemble actors in Broadway’s hottest companies, Melissa Rae Mahon and James T. Lane dish on life in the classic musical Chicago and how they stay fit for those revealing costumes.
A sneak peak at Part 2.
Rushers, have you seen Melissa open Chicago? Did you catch James when he was in A Chorus Line? Are you surprised that these two didn’t describe a rigorous workout routine for the show? Leave it in the comments! Be sure to check back at Stage Rush for Part 2 of my interview with Melissa and James!