Though the original 1975 production didn't fare as well as its Tony Awardwinning 1996 revival (which is still running on Broadway), the popularity of this story of female criminals in Prohibition-era Chicago is a testament to Bob Fosse's original choreography, and musical-theater stalwarts composer Jon Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. Roxie (Michelle T. Williams, formerly of Destiny's Child) and Velma (Terra C. MacLeod) are arrested for murder and sent to Cook County Jail, where Matron "Mama" Morton (Carol Woods) not only shows them how to survive but also serves as promoter for Velma's vaudeville career. Velma, however, becomes jealous of Roxie when she is defended by slick-as-oil lawyer Billy Flynn (a charismatic Brent Barrett) and gains her own notoriety in the press, including through sympathetic tabloid columnist Mary Sunshine (R. Lowe). The real victim of all this attention-whoring (besides the dead bodies, of course) is Roxie's schlubby but lovable husband, Amos (Tom Riis Farrell). Director Scott Faris and choreographer Gary Chryst re-create the 1996 revival, but in terms of energy and pizzazz, this iteration doesn't quite duplicate the work of their Tony Awardwinning predecessors. The show is nonetheless entertaining, with highlights that include the vocal acrobatics of Woods and Lowe; the impressive feather dance in "All I Care About"; the ventriloquist act in "We Both Reached for the Gun," which also showcases Barrett's voice; and Farrell's undeniable charm and understated humor throughout. MacLeod shines as Velma, bold in her moves, mannerisms and sultry sensuality. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun. 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru May 9. (800) 982-2787, broadwayla.org. A Nederlander Production.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: April 20. Continues through May 9, 2010