“Lead with your biggest and best”…..”Go big or go home”…..you typically hear these when friends are sitting around a card table playing Euchre. I used to play Euchre a lot. Although I’m pretty rusty from not playing in many years because it isn’t as well-known here as it was in my Western NY home area. They are advice for Euchre players meaning that if you have the right bower (the jack of whatever is trump for that hand), then you should lead off with it – let everyone know right off who has it and use it to draw out as many other lower power trumps as possible so that you and your partner can have a better chance of winning the hand. Hopefully, you or your partner have more trump cards in your hands to seal the deal.
When I left Temple Theatre on Saturday night after watching Chicago, I thought about the Euchre advice on the way home – between singing the songs from the show in my head. You see, Chicago is the opening show of the new Temple main stage season and it appears the Peggy Taphorn may have had this or similar advice in mind when selecting the order of her shows. She certainly slapped down her best card to start off the season! And from the season line up, it sounds like she just may have the perfect “loner” hand (in Euchre, that means the top 5 trump cards – a hand that can not be beat no matter who leads or how the hand is played, so the holder announces he will play without his partner). Chicago is definitely a right bower, we’ll have to wait and see if the rest of the season is the perfect loner hand.
So, enough with the Euchre analogy……Chicago blew me away!!!! I have seen Chicago in several different ways. Of course, I saw the Renee Zellenger / Catherine Zeta Jones movie many times and LOVED it! I saw it live on Broadway and performed by touring groups in Rochester, NY and Raleigh, NC. And now at Temple Theatre. All were amazing in their own ways. This is one of my all time favorite musicals!
Peggy Taphorn never ceases to amaze me — she is perfect as Velma Kelly. Lea Kohl also did a great job as Roxy Hart. I also thought Corey Brunish and Patty Cucco nailed their performances as Billy Flynn and Mama Morton, respectively – they absolutely made the characters stand out and live up to my expectations!!! Then, there is Temple’s own Michael Brocki as Amos Hart…….I adore Brocki more every time I see him in a role! I only wish he had added a little soft shoe routine to the Cellophane bit…..but, it was still one of my favorite numbers and he did a great job with it!
But, calling out the main characters without a shout out to the rest of the incredible cast would be an injustice! This cast – every single one of them – obviously worked very hard to make this show a success! They were outstanding! There were NO disappointments Saturday night (except that I bought my ticket the day of the show and ended up in the center of the front row…….., but that was my fault!). The talents – both singing and dancing – are top-notch, the production is very well done, and the costumes are perfect. I am still singing the songs in my head and I’m sure I will for a while!
I highly recommend going to see this show before it ends on October 3rd! But, a word of advice —- get your tickets early! It was so great to see the theatre packed and I hope it will continue throughout the run — if word gets out much more than it already has, I’m sure it will be!
I can’t wait to see how Peggy tops this one!!!!