BLOC to recreate a theatre classic with Chicago

COSTUME and song are used to recreate 1920s Chicago for Bloc Music Theatre’s next major production.

Vanessa Stephenson, Jack Terrill, Jarrod McHoul and Laurence Heenan prepare for BLOC’s production of Chicago, to be performed later this month. Picture Lachlan Bence.

Vanessa Stephenson, Jack Terrill, Jarrod McHoul and Laurence Heenan prepare for BLOC’s production of Chicago, to be performed later this month. Picture Lachlan Bence.

Taking on one of the world’s most popular musicals was an easy choice for the Ballarat amateur music group, according co-production manager Claire Thorpe in the lead-up to the opening night of Chicago on Thursday, May 15.

Set in a women’s prison in the 1920s, the plot famously sees the “Merry Murderesses”, including the current prison queen bee Velma Kelly and newcomer Roxie Hart, awaiting trial.

At $5000 a case Chicago’s shrewd, smooth-talking lawyer, Billy Flynn, can fix it.

“There was a lot of wheeling and dealing in that jail,” Ms Thorpe said.

“It’s fairly comical in a way too.”

Based on fact, with an engaging 1920s jazz-inspired score by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, the Ballarat production brings together local musical theatre talents Leah Delaland as Roxy and Vanessa Stephenson as Velma, with Peter Tulloch directing.

Ms Thorpe said audiences could expect “great music, great songs” and “quite a lot of dancing”.

“The music director is Ian Govan ... he has done multiple shows with us and is a music teacher at Ballarat Grammar,” she said.

“It’s very bright and there are beautiful costumes.”

AT A GLANCE

What: Chicago

When: Thursday, May 15 to Sunday, May 25 

Where: Her Majesty’s Ballarat

Tickets: From $25 - $120 from www.hermaj.com or blocmusictheatre.com.au

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