The Egyptian Theatre sets the scene for "Chicago"
Dark Horse Company Theatre director Daniel Simons said getting the rights to "Chicago" was one of the hardest things his company has had to do.
"We were denied twice and only through the connection with Broadway Across America and Lee Marshall, CEO of MagicSpace Entertainment, were we able to finally get it," Simons said during an interview with The Park Record. "Lee know knew someone who knew someone who begged for us. We’re one of the few small theatres who have the rights to this musical."
So, Dark Horse promises to make "Chicago," which will run weekends at the Egyptian Theatre throughout July, a unique experience.
"We aren’t doing a bare-stage production like what a lot of people are used to seeing," he said. "We’re putting some older elements in it with the stage being a Chicago night club and the jail."
Simons said the actors will put their own Dark Horse spin on the production, but those won’t overshadow the story, written by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse about Prohibition-era Chicago.
The musical is based on actual events and characters, Simons said.
"It’s not that difficult for our company to do because we’re a strong musical company and this is right up our alley," Simons said. "We have a strong rep of singers and dancers, and it’s challenging material as far as the style goes, but I think it was kind of written for us."
The original production opened in 1975 and won six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and a Grammy Award.
The production experienced a revival in 1996 and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 2002.
"It’s one of the best musical scores ever written," Simons said. "It’s a Kander and Ebb musical, so it’s very cabaret, sexy and sultry, and the strong Chicago jazz score gets under your skin."
The intimacy of the Egyptian Theatre will add a new dimension to the production, Simons said.
"I’ve seen the show on Broadway and the touring production that are all done in much larger houses and the Egyptian’s a cool place, especially with the cabaret seating, and the audience can be right in the middle of the action," he said. "I think that can be a little bit terrifying as well, sitting that close to murderers."
The orchestra itself is a great set element as well.
"The musicians are set up in a bandstand, with a spiral staircase leading up to it," he said. "They are and are part of the action and are visible, but we couldn’t put them on the side of the stage, because there is no way to go but up."
Because of the space constraints, the orchestra will only feature nine musicians.
"We still have a horn section, violins and all that stuff, but we don’t have any electric guitars, which is a first for us at Dark Horse," he said with a laugh. "There isn’t a lot of space at the Egyptian, but Dark Horse knows how to do it. We’ve been building stuff on this stage for 13 years."
The Dark Horse Theatre Company will present "Chicago" at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Fridays through Sundays, July 6 through 8, 13 through 15, 20 through 22 and 27 through 29. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $60 and are available at http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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