Theater Review: Chicago may not hit well with first-timers 

Chicago may be “celebrating 25 years of Razzle Dazzle,”  but for a first-time viewer, it wasn’t quite what I expected.

Chicago national tour
Logan Floyd and the cast of Chicago
Photos by Jeremy Daniel

Chicago originally debuted in 1975, making the show 48 years old. This particular national tour is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show’s revival. The story is adapted from a 1926 play of the same name, making it 95 years old.

For those new to the story like me, Chicago is about murderous women in the 1920s who hire a corrupt lawyer (Billy Flynn played by Jeff Brooks) to make them into celebrity criminals and get them off death row, and while I wanted to leave having loved the show, but was left feeling just sort of “eh.” Also, some of the lyrics – and especially some of the comedy – felt outdated. 

Chicago national tour
Jeff Brooks and the cast of Chicago

First, let’s talk about the things I did enjoy:

The two main cast members, Logan Floyd as Velma Kelly and Katie Frieden as Roxie Hart, were phenomenal. Their character work was really something, and Katie, in particular, totally embodied her character’s emotions. The choreography was also very elegant, and the cast was very talented. It was also a ton of fun to see the orchestra and conductor on stage the whole show since most shows have them hidden away in the pit.

Chicago national tour
Katie Frieden and the cast of Chicago

I couldn’t really understand why I didn’t like the show as much as everyone else seems to, but I think part of it may have been that I’m used to the elaborate sets seen in the majority of major musical theater productions, so it’s odd to have to imagine the character’s surroundings and clothing. The lingerie-like costumes somehow leave nothing but also everything to the imagination, and I definitely prefer being wowed by the little details that this production of Chicago just doesn’t have.

Chicago national tour

If you’ve seen the live version of Chicago before and enjoyed it – or if you’re looking to see some talented musicians and performers live – you’ll enjoy this production. However, if you’re like me and really want to see the settings, costumes, and 1920s “wow factor,” try the movie version (I put it on while writing this article, and it’s what I was anticipating for the stage version).

Katie Frieden and Logan Floyd

Chicago Facts:

  1. Chicago is the longest-running American musical in Broadway and West End history.
  2. The show has been seen by more than 32 million people worldwide. 
  3. Chicago has played more than 32,500 performances worldwide. 
  4. The show has played in 36 countries (including the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Italy, Denmark, Holland, Spain, France, South Korea), and more than 500 cities.
  5. The words “All That Jazz” have been sung or spoken more than 715,000 times in 13 different languages.
  6. Chicago has played all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia in the United States. 

Chicago is playing at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts now through April 23, 2023. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Additional tour stops can be found at

Parents should note that the show is not appropriate for kids, as it has a mature subject matter and contains strong language.


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  1. The revival started as a concert production through New York City Center’s Encores series. They traditionally are performed with the orchestra on stage, minimal sets and costumes. The current national tour of Into the Woods is similarly staged. So be prepared when that tour eventually comes to Orlando.

  2. Just stick to reviewing theme parks, or watching Disney movies. We wouldn’t want you to overtax your imagination. This will go down as one of the most ignorant “reviews” in theater history.

  3. Holy moly. Seriously? Yikes. If you can’t use your imagination to fill in a set and require everything to be literal, then, yeah … maybe you aren’t cut out for the whole theater thing. Sorry.

  4. What a sophomoric review. Underwhelmed by your reviewing abilities. This version of “Chicago” is truly amazing with the talented singers and dancer, performing both at the same time.