‘Chicago’ Premieres at Theatre Downtown

By Elisanett Martinez
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Theatre Downtown has produced yet another entertaining and energetic production. The famous musical “Chicago” premiered this past Friday night in downtown Orlando.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, “Chicago” is a story about a young woman by the name of Roxie Hart, played by Michelle Elise, who dreams of becoming a starlet in the jazz infused city of Chicago. Roxie is married to Amos Hart, played by Eddy Coppens, a quiet and gullible mechanic.

Roxie finds herself in a very stagnant love life with her husband and decides to have an affair with Fred Casely, played by Stephen Pugh, their furniture salesman. After a night of liquor, jazz, and fornication, Roxie realizes that Casely was only after one thing and shoots him dead.

After being thrown in jail she meets Velma Kelly, a hardened inmate who has made a name for herself after the murder of her sister and husband and Billy Flynn, played by Joel Warren, the best lawyer money can buy.

Roxie quickly learns how to survive in the system. Though hard, seeing her name in the papers launches the stardom she has always dreamed of.

Elise portrays the character of Roxie with completeness. Her dedication as an actor is apparent as she has even gone so far as to die her hair platinum blonde for the role. “Chicago” is Elise’s first appearance in Theatre Downtown but she has been performing original music since 2008 at venues like The House of Blues, Club Firestone, and the Langerado Music festival.

“There is a lot of good talent in there, a lot of good singers,” said Brad Powers, a member of the audience.

Elise is playful and entertaining, complemented by the appearance of Joel Warren, whose personality jumps off the stage and might as well share your seat with you. Warren is a graduate of CalArts with a BFA in acting. But the real joy of this production is Danielle Lang.

Lang embodies the character Velma Kelly in a manner that is so real, it is undeniable. This actress captures the essence of the dangerous ’20s with perfection. Lang has a voice that carries through the entire theatre. Along with beautiful vocals, Lang executes choreography effortlessly.

“It was very entertaining, I thought everyone did a great job, it was great all around,” said Candance Kasinsky, a lover of the musical “Chicago.”

As if the actors were not enough assets, Theatre Downtown takes “Chicago” to the next level by adding a live jazz ensemble, directed by Spencer Crosswell. The musicians in the ensemble play with authority, precision and energy. They even take a role in the musical, giving the audience the feeling of “being in on the joke.”

Theatre Downtown has done an amazing job at executing such an entertaining musical. The cast, music and sets ooze authenticity. If you are looking for something to do with friends or relatives do not hesitate to see “Chicago.”

For more information on Theatre Downtown visit http://www.theatredowntown.net For tickets call 407-841-0083. Theatre Downtown is located at 2113 N Orange Ave, Orlando, Fl 32804.