Theater lovers are in for a special treat this weekend with the opening of Foothills Theatre’s production of the musical “Chicago.” The show opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Elkin High School’s Dixon Auditorium, with additional performances on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. There will be plenty of jazz, razz and dazzle as a talented group of actors, singers and dancers tell the story of two saucy vixens of the 1920s.
“‘Chicago’” brings back the age of jazz,” said cast member Lori Rice. “The talented cast makes that age come alive with song, dance and sass! If I weren’t in the show, I would still want to be in the audience to witness this fantastic show!”
Foothills Theatre Director Leighanne Martin Wright said the group has done some wonderful shows during its long history in the community, but this show is going to be something extra special.
“Not in the community group’s 47-year history has Foothills Theatre undertaken an endeavor with so much dancing and singing — for people that enjoy musicals — this will be the one to see,” Wright said. “We are bringing back the age of jazz — complete with a six-piece jazz band — and it’s going to be entertaining and then some! Elkin and the surrounding community is brimming with artistic talent and for proof, just come to the show.”
Cast members performed in costume with the full band for the first time on Sunday and they said it was amazing.
“This show transports you back to the great roaring ’20s,” said Amy Cockerham, who plays the role of Roxie. “I think the audience should be looking forward to all of the show-stopping songs by the cast, I know I am. Every night I have a new favorite.”
Cockerham also said she enjoyed playing the role of Roxie Hart because “she is such a dynamic character that becomes consumed in her quest for fame.”
Jennifer Kleinheksel, who plays Velma Kelly, the show’s other leading lady, said, “I love that Foothills Theatre is embracing a bit more of a racy and daring show like ‘Chicago.’ It is a fun show that will captivate the audience not only with its plot, but also with all of the dance numbers.”
Kleinheksel also praised the cast for all the hard work they have done putting the show together.
As with all of Foothills Theatre’s musical productions, there will be a live orchestra. In this production their role will be even more integral to the show as the band will be on the stage with the actors. Performing in the orchestra will be pianist Thomas Jackson, James Brandt on drums, saxophone player Carlos Tolbert, Guy Kelpin on trombone, Doug Woodard on trumpet and bass player Josh Casstevens.
The cast includes Jennifer Kleinheksel of State Road as Velma Kelly; Amy Cockerham of Mount Airy as Roxie Hart; Scott Carpenter of Mount Airy as Billy Flynn; Lori Rice of Elkin as Matron Mama Morton; Morgan Harrison of Boonville as Amos Hart; Susan Lawrence of Mount Airy as Mary Sunshine; David Nielsen of Elkin as Fogarty and the judge; Daniel Darst of Kernersville as Fred Casely; and as the Merry Murderesses — Sally Bryant-Whitaker of Dobson, Mary Johnson of Elkin, Mary Keller of Elkin, Brittany McCollum of Elkin, Kitsey E. Burns of East Bend, Susan Lawrence of Mount Airy, and Melissa Lawrence of Mount Airy; Dustin Bledsoe of Dobson as Martin Harrison; Neil Green of State Road as Harry and Aaron; Nicole Freeman as the conductor; and in the ensemble — Donna Absher of Elkin, Claire Grider of Elkin, Molly Gibson of Hamptonville, Savannah Mabe of Jonesville, Anna Taylor of Elkin, and Ally Gentry of Elkin.
Performances of “Chicago” will be in Dixon Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on July 24 and 25 and 2:30 p.m. on July 26. Tickets are $10 and available at the door prior to the performances.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.