How can you get enough of your favorite singing murderesses? Depends on you but after a few times viewing “Chicago The Musical” live or constantly clicking replay on your media player, it would take some withdrawal symptoms to get over the jazzy tunes. But is it all there is to it?
There is more to the music and it’s a solid story that Kander and Ebb delivered here. Sure jazz music was part of the culture in Chicago but so are the loose firearms. Murders in between song numbers occur and song-and-dance numbers within jail itself just seem natural.
Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly end up in Cook County Jail for committing murder. Roxie murdered her lover after discovering that he’s just a regular customer in the nightclub where he promised her a job. In the same nightclub where Roxie and her lover hung out was where Velma got arrested for the double murder of her husband and her sister after catching them in bed.
This musical doesn’t shy away from the fact that several women got into Murderess’ Row. If not for that “Cell Block Tango” you wouldn’t get an idea how many women are willing to risk jail simply because “he had it coming”. I mean if they kept getting cheated on, is murder way easier than walking out of a bad relationship? Then again if guns are so easily accessible and you’re mad out of your wits, that question doesn’t even come up anymore.
Jail Time Means Screen Time
Some folks use their jail time to reinvent themselves. It may have started when Velma found ways to keep landing on the front page despite getting into the slammer. Of course she had to do that with the help of “being good to Mama” a.k.a. Matron “Mama” Morton. But for whatever reason, Roxie ended up getting some sound advice from her – get Billy Flynn as her lawyer. Maybe Morton didn’t think Roxie can’t cough up the cash to pay Flynn’s exorbitant fees.
She did with the help (more like pressure) of Amos, her poor husband. Flynn took up the case and found a way to manipulate the press, the jury and soon even his own clients, Roxie and Velma, into getting a double acquittal. It’s tricky how it got there but that’s the beauty of the musical.
It’s quite hard to judge which did it first – life or art. You have seen certain trials go high-profile and turn into some sort of telenovela. Some lawyers are good at doing that not only because they are paid to do it but because they can’t trust their clients enough to be left alone with a microphone or with a reporter. For a fame whore, Roxie is not good at handling interviews. That’s where Flynn had to come in.
Him basically turning Roxie into his puppet via the song “We Both Reached for the Gun” was a funny way to state how he controlled Roxie and how Roxie allowed him to do so since the fruits of his labor benefited her a lot via her new-found fame (or infamy, depending on which side of the justice you’re on). His constant repetition of “We both reached for the gun, the gun, the gun, the gun” was his way of conditioning media what to write, what to report and eventually what to make their readers and listeners think. It’s like an SEO-reliant article – it conditions your mind into thinking the writer’s way through constant repetition of keywords. If only most of them are as good as Flynn though.
Well that’s how to summarize the musical best in my point of view. And it’s easy to see by this time what made “Chicago” so successful. Chances are it won’t be the last time that it would be tackled here. So might as well like our official Facebook page, MusicalsOnline.com, and follow us on Twitter @musicalsnews. Thanks for reading.