After West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and La Cage aux Folles, Barrie Kosky now brings another great American musical to Komische Oper Berlin: Chicago. Going back to the original large-scale orchestral version, he once again demonstrates the genre’s artistic power. In the spotlight: Katharine Mehrling and Ruth Brauer-Kvam as the unbeatable showgirl duo Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly.
Chicago 1924: Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly—best frenemies forever. Both know what it takes to be a real star. Artistic talent is not enough: publicity is everything! To reach the limelight, they’re prepared to do almost anything. Anything? After the murder of her deceitful lover, Roxie lands in jail where she meets Velma, who’s been arrested after catching her husband having sex with her sister. And what makes for juicier headlines than a dramatic court case? Even as Roxie is acquitted, the next big scandal comes along and steals the show. The two arch-enemies now know there’s only one way forward: by sticking together. Because with two ice-cold sirens like them together on stage, even Chicago has never seen anything like it . . .
The story of the two killer showgirls Roxie and Velma is based on true events. In the early 1920s, the cases of Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan were covered by court reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins for the Chicago Tribune. Both cabaret singers had been accused of murdering their lovers and were ultimately acquitted. Doubting their innocence, Watkins wrote a play that was performed on Broadway in 1926 and released the following year as a silent film. The musical Chicago was based on that play, premiering in 1975 and eventually becoming one of the most successful Broadway productions of all time.
Did you know?
The show’s 1996 revival enjoyed worldwide success and resulted in six Tony Awards, two decades after the original premiere.