Incline Turns On the Fosse with “Chicago”
Posted On August 9, 2016
Sneak Peek By Laurel Humes of Chicago: Incline Theatre
It is impossible to separate the iconic musical Chicago from the equally iconic choreographer Bob Fosse. He co-wrote, directed and choreographed the original Broadway production in 1975, and the 1996 revival (still playing!) was produced “in the style of Bob Fosse.” So what should a theater company today do with Chicago? Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, where Chicago opens August 10, has chosen “Fosse-esque,” said choreographer Angela Kahle. “It is hard to look at the show without what Fosse did,” Kahle said. “It can be intimidating to be compared to that. What we needed to do, though, was make this version our own but still give a nod to the original show.” Audiences expecting to see the familiar Fosse style will be rewarded in two major production numbers, “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango.” The Incline show, directed by Matt Wilson, “has a strong cast that I am excited to choreograph,” Kahle said.
As a hardly-needed reminder, here’s the plot: In 1920s Chicago, vaudevillian Velma Kelly and chorus girl Roxie Hart find themselves sharing space in the women’s block of Cook County Jail, both on murder charges. They become competitors for lawyer Billy Flynn’s time and for press’ attention, which is turning criminals into celebrities.
There are several reasons for the long-lived popularity of Chicago, Kahle believes. “First, there are so many wonderful, fun production numbers,” she said. “And the show explores celebrity, which can be fallacious but primed by the media. That theme is still relevant today.”
Kahle, a native of Lima, Ohio, has been in Cincinnati for three years, following a career as a dancer. She toured with the Rockettes for five years, then was part of the New York Rockette company at Radio City Musical Hall for five years. Kahle also was in the first national tour of 42nd Street.
She had lived briefly in Cincinnati previously, then came back to be part of the city’s vibrant theater and arts scene. In addition to choreography, Kahle teaches at Dancefix and Revere Dance Studio.
In Cincinnati, Kahle has choreographed Chorus Line for Covedale Center for the Performing Arts and Beauty and the Beast for the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
“I have discovered that choreography is really where my heart is, especially musicals,” Kahle said. “I loved performing, but this is my passion.”
Chicago runs Wednesdays-Sundays, August 10 through September 4, at Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre, 801 Matson Place. Call 513-241-6550 for tickets.