Potomac’s Production of Chicago Kills it…Literally


Peyton Zarate, Layout Editor

No one ever said putting on a musical featuring fame-seeking murderers was going to be a walk in the park, but Potomac’s theater department will show it’s more than up to the challenge when Chicago opens it’s three show run in EPAC this Friday, February 24th at 6:30 pm. 

The longest-running musical in American history, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse, Chicago is jam-packed with everything from murder to large dance numbers. It follows killers Roxie Hart, played by sophomore Sloane Escobar, and Velma Kelly, played by senior Grace McMiller, as they do anything and everything it takes to be acquitted and become the next 1920s Vaudeville sensation. 

Hidden behind the jazz, Grace said, is a show “critiquing how corrupt our justice system is and how truly anything that gets buzz gets pushed and turned out through the system.” In addition to offering a take on greed and the power of money, the director, Ms. Miller, echoes that the show is “meant to be more of a commentary on fame and justice and what happens when fame and justice get mixed together.”

Chicago is also a satire, and presents artistic challenges when portraying characters that, as Ms. Miller put it, “lack a little bit of depth.” Sloane said, “When I was analyzing the script, I was finding it really hard to find Roxie’s motives. Characters that seem very straightforward are actually a lot harder to portray. But after digging really deep into the text and working with Ms. Miller, I am very confident in my interpretation of Roxie.” 

The musical is filled with numerous dance numbers. Potomac typically strays away from dance-heavy shows since “we only have a few people who dance outside of school,” Ms. Miller explained. But a consulting choreographer, Rebecca Weiss, along with Ms. Miller and senior cast member Peyton Zarate, choreographed unique routines that don’t require a high level of dance technique, but still look impressive on stage. 

The set was designed and built for the EPAC stage by students in the Stagecraft elective taught by Mr. Mark McLaughlin. The set features two levels that reflect the “elaborateness and over-the-topness of the show,” according to Grace said. Using dual levels comes with its own set of challenges. “Until two weeks before the show you don’t actually know where you’re going to be standing for some of your numbers,” Sophomore Tucker Robbins explained. 

It takes a tremendous effort from the tight-knit cast and crew to mount a production, especially a large-scale musical like Chicago. “Whether you love musical theater or not, you will definitely be entertained!” Sloane said. Tickets are free and available during lunch in the dining hall and at the door for shows on Friday, February 24th at 6:30 pm, Saturday, February 25th at 2 pm, and Saturday, February 25th at 7 pm.