You’d think that “Chicago”–which promises to tell the story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery–would be a bit of a downer. But throw in a Tony Award winning score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, some sexy choreography by Ann Reinking and a couple of celebs well-known to sitcom fans, and you have a musical in which the overall flashiness cloaks the underlying darkness of the play’s theme: That you’re only as important as your last 15 minutes of fame.
Chita Rivera made a triumphant return Wednesday evening when “Kiss of the Spider Woman” opened a five-night run at the Chicago Theatre. Dancing up a storm and singing in perfect voice, the 63-year-old Broadway star gave a smoldering performance that made all the difference in the world. Last year when the musical opened at the same theater, Rivera’s understudy took her place on opening night after Rivera injured her leg. And while all the actors did a fine job, the show was lackluster and I left feeling bored. Not so this night. Regal and poised, Rivera (who won a 1993 Tony Award for her role) started and closed the show with a standing ovation.