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Feb. 20-March 24, 2019
Opening Night on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019

book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse • music by John Kander • lyrics by Fred Ebb
based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins • script adaptation by David Thompson
directed and choreographed by Ron Hutchins

Opportunity knocks when a crime of passion earns Roxie Hart the kind of notoriety that slick-talking attorney Billy Flynn can exploit for her dreams of fame and his hunger for fortune. Roxie’s story captures the imaginations of newspaper readers and reporters who fall hook, line and sinker for Billy’s clever manipulation. Roxie quickly overshadows previous murderess, media darling, and fellow Cook County inmate – vaudevillian Velma Kelly. Set in the Jazz Age, Kander and Ebb’s legendary, Tony Award-winning musical takes a tantalizing look at how the times may change, but the allure of fame remains a fundamental motivation for those willing to sacrifice their scruples for the spotlight.

Sponsored by:

 

Preview Performances

Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.*

Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

*Pay What You Can Night
Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Patrons are invited to attend the first preview of Opening Week by paying any amount they wish for their tickets. Tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office at 601 Main Street the day of the performance. The Box Office opens at 9 a.m. There are at least 100 tickets available for purchase, and tickets are limited to two per person.

Regular Performances

Wednesdays-Thursdays at 7 p.m., Feb. 27-28, March 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21

Fridays at 8 p.m., Feb. 22, March 1, 8, 15 and 22

Saturdays at 2 p.m., Feb. 23, March 16 and 23

Saturdays at 8 p.m., Feb. 23, March 2, 9, 16 and 23

Sundays at 2 p.m., Feb. 24, March 3, 10, 17 and 24

Special

Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m., is an American Sign Language-interpreted performance
Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m., is an American Sign Language-interpreted performance

See one-time walk-on performances by these Little Rock news personalities:

  • Donna Terrell (Fox 16) – Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
  • Alyson Courtney (KATV) – Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m.
  • Adam Bledsoe (THV) – Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m.

Director’s Talk

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 6:15 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 21, 6:15 p.m.

Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Speaker Series

Thursday, Feb. 21, 12 p.m.

Join Director Ron Hutchins and members of the cast and creative team for a panel discussion on this production.

Beer Night with Diamond Bear Brewing Co. and Arkansas Times

Thursday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m.
Sponsored by Arkansas Times and Diamond Bear Brewing Co.

Enjoy a complimentary beer tasting provided by Diamond Bear Brewing Co.

Opening Night Champagne Reception

Friday, Feb. 22

Celebrate with the cast after the Opening Night performance. Enjoy a special champagne toast and light hors d’oeuvres.

Pay Your Age Night

Saturday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.
Sponsored by Little Rock Soiree and Zetêo Coffee

If you’re age 22-40, you can pay your age at The Rep! Enjoy great theatre at a great price. Plus, enjoy complimentary beverages from Zetêo Coffee. There are 50 tickets available for purchase, and tickets are limited to four per household. Purchase through the Box Office in person or by phone (sorry, no online sales). Ticket price is based on the age of the oldest person in the group. Proof of age for each member of the party is required at time of pick-up. Offer is based on seating availability.

Post-Show Talk Back

Wednesday, Feb. 27, immediately following the performance

Stay after the performance for a discussion with members of the cast. Epilogue talkbacks will take place in the theatre and are free with your show ticket.

Beer Night with Stone’s Throw Brewing

Thursday, March 7, 6 p.m.
Sponsored by Stone's Throw Brewing

Enjoy a complimentary beer tasting provided by Stone's Throw Brewing.

Matt Allen

Nicholas Karl Brown

Anthony Bryant

Erik Joshua Clack

Madeleine Corliss

Sarita Crawford

Felicia Dinwiddie

Brian Earles

Joi Hester

Daisy Hobbs

Sydney Ippolito

Christopher Johnstone

Adriana Milbrath

Rachel Perlman

Z. Spiegel

Frederick Webb, Jr.

Allison Wilson

Production Stage Manager

Colin JB* is delighted to be back in Arkansas working with The Rep! Favorite Rep credits: Santaland Diaries, Gridiron 2016 & 2018, Sister Act, SPAMALOT, Bridges of Madison County, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Little Mermaid. Other Regional and New York Credits: My Eyes Went Dark with the Brits Off-Broadway Festival (PSM), DRAGUS MAXIMUS with Heartbeat Opera (PSM), Boy at the Edge of Everything with Long Wharf Theatre (PSM), The Gospel at Colonus with The New York Shakespeare Festival (PA), and A Taste of Things to Come with The York Theatre (PA). Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Costume Designer

Trish Clark (Costume Designer) is a freelance costume designer working in Nashville, TN. She is a long-time fan of Arkansas Repertory Theatre, first coming here more than a dozen years ago to design Crowns. She has since returned many times to design shows including Peter and The Starcatcher, Doubt, Ring of Fire, The Foreigner, FROST/NIXON and A Raisin in The Sun. Other regional design credits include Tennessee Repertory Theatre (where she was the resident costume designer for 12 seasons), The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Tennessee Shakespeare Theatre, and Theater Squared. Working in a recording industry town has also provided opportunity to cross-over and work in that world. Trish has designed music videos, managed costume builds and fittings for national concert tours and counts among her private clients many A-list music artists. Trish and her husband Rick live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Trish is a faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University, her alma mater. She says that being part of creating great theatre brings her great joy, so this trip back to create at Arkansas Repertory Theatre is a very joyous occasion. 

Director/Choreographer

Ron Hutchins is an internationally acclaimed director/choreographer whose work has been seen with Sevenages productions in Beijing and Shanghai, China. His South Florida Theatre credits include; The Actors Playhouse, The Wick Theatre, Broward Stage Door Theatre and The Boca Raton Theatre Guild. Ron’s work has been featured nationally with Cirque Productions, Hard Rock Cafe, Goodman Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Cape Fear Regional Theatre and the Royal George Theatre.  

A passionate educator, Ron served as adjunct professor of dance for University of Miami, Vanderbilt University, Columbia College, Roosevelt University and Morehead State University. A proud member of Stage Directors Choreographers (SDC), he enjoys teaching Broadway Dance at Broward Center for the Performing Arts and being resident choreographer for Florida Children's Theatre. His mantle holds 3 Carbonell Awards, 2 Silver Palm Awards and a Midot Medal from the Florida JCC Maccabi Games awarded to individuals who embody a value and go above and beyond what is expected.

Properties Designer

Lynda J. Kwallek is in her 14th year at Arkansas Rep. Lynda holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Kent State University in Ohio, and an MFA in Theatre from Illinois State University in Normal. Lynda spent many years in Houston at the Alley Theatre, where she held a variety of positions in the properties shop, including properties master, assistant and shopper. During her tenure at the Alley, Lynda worked on approximately 200 productions in the prop and scenic shops. Some of the memorable shows Lynda has worked on include Not about Nightingale’s, Angels in America, Jekyll & Hyde, Civil War and House and Garden. Prior to the Alley, she was staff designer at the University of Houston Clear Lake School of Theatre and Dance and served as designer/ technical director for the Houston Shaw Festival. While in Houston, Lynda worked with the Shakespeare Festival and the Children’s Festival at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park in the properties department. Lynda is a member of the Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M).

Production Manager

Joshua Marchesi (Production Manager) is joining the Rep after 10 years as Production Manager for South Coast Repertory in Southern California. During his time there he was responsible for guiding the development of over 170 productions, including world premieres of over 50 new plays, many of which have gone on to New York and Regional productions. Among his favorites were A Doll’s House Part 2, Vietgone, The Language Archives, and Office Hour. Originally from San Francisco, Joshua graduated from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in 1981. He has been working full time as a production manager since 1995, including stints at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Walton Arts Center, Marin Theatre Company, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Joshua loves being able to straddle the practical and artistic worlds through production management and looks forward to new discoveries here at The Rep.

Resident Set Designer/Technical Director

Mike Nichols is grateful for the clutch support of Rep patrons and backers from all over Arkansas before and during the recent unpleasantness. He looks forward to resuming the work he began in 1982 with your continued support.

Assistant Stage Manager

Phillip T. Perez* is so grateful to be back at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Past productions include Disney The Little Mermaid, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Elf, Memphis, Avenue Q, The 39 Steps and To Kill a Mockingbird. Other credits include Frog Kiss: The Musical (Virginia Stage Company), Red White and Tuna (Playhouse On The Square) and Hello Dolly! (Brevard Music Center). He graduated from The University of the Ozarks with a BA in Theater. He would like to thank his Mom, Dad, sister Shelly and brother-in-law Ryan for their support. To Randy for simply being the best. Proud Member of Actors Equity. SSDGM

Musical Director/Conductor

Michael Rice is thrilled to be back at the Arkansas Rep. He premiered his adaptation of Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan (1985) and Pageant! (1989- now titled American Beauty) at the Rep, both directed by Cliff Baker. In 2017 he premiered at the Argenta Theater his Music Drama During Wind and Rain: A Delta Family Album, with libretto by Arkansas author Margaret Jones Bolsterli and directed by Judy Trice - an homage to his Desha County roots. Other Rep credits include Marry Me a Little and Avenue Q. He recently musical directed The Sound of Music at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, directed by Rick Dildine. At Providence’s Trinity Rep he has conducted over 10 productions including Oliver and Oklahoma! directed by film actor Richard Jenkins and choreographed by Richard’s wife, Sharon. He also conducted two productions of 1776 with director Frank Galati at the Asolo Rep in Sarasota and ACT in San Francisco. Other conducting credits include Ford’s Theatre, The Muny, The Alley, Meadow Brook Theatre, and Cape Playhouse. He is composer of Fireflies and Shooting Stars which inspired author Ed Raarup’s award-winning children’s book entitled the same. They are currently developing this into a film. Thanks to Cliff, as well as to this Arkansas Rep team.

Lighting Designer

Marty Vreeland Arkansas Rep: A Christmas Story, Peter and the Starcatcher. Broadway: 2018 Jimmy Awards (NHSMTA), 15 Annual Easter Bonnet Shows (BC/EFA). Off-Broadway: Lost in Yonkers (TACT). Tryst (Irish Rep). The Road to Qatar (York Theatre). Freed (59E59 Theatres). Seeing Stars (St Clements/NYMF). Other NYC: Cherry Lane Theatre, PS122, Milkcan Theatre Co, American Theatre of Actors, Personal Space Theatrics.  Regional: Theatre Squared, Sacramento Music Circus, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, North Shore Music Theatre, Barrington Stage, Merrimack Rep, TheaterWorks Hartford, City Theatre Co, Penguin Rep, Engeman Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, New Harmony Theatre, Virginia Musical Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Cape May Stage, Stoneham Theatre, River Rep, The Alley, Surflight and Troika. Martin has also assisted on several Broadway productions including The Lion King. Education: Syracuse University.

Because each individual theatregoer is different, The Rep offers suitability suggestions for every production. If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness, or stage effects that might have a bearing on your comfort, please call the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.


CONTENT

Characters Drink “Liquor” Onstage Yes Drunkenness depicted
Drug Use Depicted Yes Cigars and cigarettes 
Violence Depicted/Referenced Yes Physical violence, domestic violence, murder by gun, poisoning, and knife, silhouette of a hanged woman, attempted sexual assault
Nudity No Brief moments of actors in their underwear 
Sexual/Suggestive Content Yes Allusion to sex, sexual acts, and sexual situations, reference to genitals, reference to sexual assault, comedic treatment of cross-dressing, infidelity leading to pregnancy
Profanity (including colloquial profanity) Yes whoopee (2), pee, tramp, son of a bitch, ass, screw/screwing (4), hell/go to hell (7), shit (2), damn (4), bastard, boobs (2), knocked up, copulate (2), mick (Irish slur), hunky (Hungarian slur), whore, rape, crotch, temptress, adulteress


EFFECTS INFORMATION

Audience Participation No  
Herbal Cigarette/E-Cigarette Smoke No  
Simulated Drug Use Yes  Prop “puffer cigarettes” 
Fog/Haze Yes Light atmospheric haze 
Pyrotechnics  No  
Strobe/Flashing Lights TBD  
Live Gunshots (blanks) No  
Startling Noises Yes Sharp snare drum hits as gunshots, pre-recorded gunshot sounds 


SENSORY INFORMATION

The exact use potentially sensory-disturbing production elements are not determined until at least one week prior to the opening of the show. 

Lights

Yes Bright lights onstage, strobe lights TBD, dark in audience seating
Sounds Yes Onstage yelling, gunshots on and offstage
Music Yes Throughout


ADDITIONAL NOTES & INFORMATION

Murder, gun violence, physical violence, adultery, sexuality, alcohol, criminal behavior, jazz clubs of the 1920s, risqué dress, domestic violence, execution by hanging, deceit in court, prison, polygamy, infidelity, divorce, theft, pregnancy, gambling, execution of an innocent immigrant person

Comedic treatment of: murder, gun violence, physical violence, adultery, sexuality, criminal behavior, risqué dress, domestic violence, deceit in court, polygamy, infidelity, divorce, theft, pregnancy, gambling

Education intern Zachery Ingersoll recently sat down with Ron Hutchins, the director/choreographer of Chicago, to get his insight on producing The Rep's 2019 season opener.


Zachery Ingersoll: Can you tell us about your history with The Rep?

Ron Hutchins: I can’t even remember what year it was--it had to have been 1995 or something--that I became affiliated with The Rep. I was living in Nashville, Tennessee. I drove to Little Rock and auditioned for [founding artistic director] Cliff Baker and Guy Couch. I was hired for the tour of The All-Night Strut. After touring for four months, they hired me to do Godspell as the dance captain. Cliff invited me back the next year to choreograph The Blues in the Night. From that show on for the next 15 years I choreographed a show or two every year. That’s how it works, that’s what I love about the industry. Working with someone who has loyalty gives you a different sense of respect for the industry and for that person. I worked here when Cliff Baker was producing artistic director and then under Bob Hupp when he was producing artistic director. I’ve done a ton of shows with The Rep, and my last show was directing Smokey Joe’s Café in 2010.

ZI: How has it been being back to The Rep to direct Chicago?

RH: It’s been great for me. It's been interesting because I've choreographed here more than I've directed. This is only my third directing project at The Rep. My first time was Ain’t Misbehavin’, and my second was Smokey Joe’s Café. This feels more like a directing job to me because Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Smokey Joe’s Cafe are reviews, jukebox musicals. When I was offered this project, I said, “Whatever I have to do, whatever I have to stop doing to get there, yes absolutely, I will do it.”

ZI: What has it been like to get back to work with members of the same creative team on multiple productions?

RH: It's a wonderful thing because they have a great idea of how I work, and my style of working, and they know that I’m approachable. It’s a team effort. It's our show. It's not my show. It’s my show, it's [resident scenic designer and technical director] Mike Nichols’ show, it’s [resident properties designer] Lynda Kwallek’s show, it’s the sound team’s show. It's everybody's show, even the actors. I believe in that.

ZI: What can audiences expect to see in The Rep’s production of Chicago that they won’t find in any other production?

RH: My approach to the show is totally different from the [1996 Broadway] revival production. The revival choreographically is a masterpiece, but there’s no storytelling going on. It’s iconic because it's Bob Fosse’s, but originally it was called Chicago: A Vaudeville Musical. So we’re going to focus on the vaudeville and add a little bit of burlesque to that and tie them together and sprinkle a little bit of that icon Mr. Fosse in there and make it our own. I believe in earning your own sweat. I've never been the kind of person to copy, that’s not what I'm being paid for. It’s called the creative arts for a reason. So what audiences can expect to see here is a musical with a book. They can expect to see incredible costumes that Trish Clark has brought to the table. [This production] will be a very nice mix of the vaudeville and the burlesque. I'm really going with the vaudeville inspiration. You won't see a hook, for example, in the current [Broadway] revival. In the old vaudeville days, if your act stunk, they would say, ‘get the hook,’ and they’d bring out a giant hook to pull you off the stage. So we’ll have elements like that that, the element of the curled up tie, and of the clown. You know, during the prohibition, people weren’t supposed to drink and women weren’t supposed to be ‘loose’, so during the overture, the audience is going to see a chase through a speakeasy with the actors running all over the place with these cops chasing them around to sort of set up the style of the show. So the audience should expect the fun of all of that. And of course, they should expect to see great choreography, because that's identifiable with the show itself. But I think the book will expose itself more than it did in the revival production.

ZI: What is your favorite memory at The Rep?

RH: My favorite was during The Rep’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (in 2000). I'll never forget--I was standing in the lobby at intermission during the previews and I was in tears and one of the actors said, “You're in tears because you know you got the goods.” It was that show and this facility that proved to me that maybe I have what it takes to do this. Because, as an artist, you’re always insecure--“Is this too much, is it not enough?”--but when I looked at Joseph, it was a seamless journey and a seamless effort of my work and I knew then that I had what it took.

ZI: What is it about the story of Chicago that makes it important to tell here and now?

RH: Chicago is proof positive that, the same thing that we are seeing in the world today, you don’t win a court case by being right. You win by being prepared. It's proof positive that power and money give you privilege, and that power and money sometimes allow you to escape from what you are guilty of. For example, a really interesting character to me is Roxy’s husband Amos. Throughout the whole show, he talks about how he is invisible, he's ‘Mr. Cellophane,’ and nobody really sees him or pays attention to him. Of all the characters in the show, he is the only honest, real person, but he is the only one that loses everything. He loses his wife, still never gains his own identity. He doesn't manipulate anyone, he does everything the right way, he stands in line behind everybody to get his turn, and loses. Whereas the other characters manipulate and scheme and scam to get everything they want and they get off, they win. It's proof positive that money and power allow you privilege.

ZI: Why do you think this moment in The Rep’s history is so important, and what does it mean to you?

RH: This moment in The Rep’s history is important for a lot of reasons. Primarily because of the passing of Cliff Baker and because of the suspension of productions last April, Chicago is the most important show that The Rep has ever done. The Rep chose this season unsure that their doors were going to open. Cliff Baker chose this show and it took him 20 years to get the rights. He's always wanted to do this show for this community. That makes it important. This moment is also a win-win -- Everybody in this community is on The Rep’s side and that is such an honor. The Rep is important to this community because it's the largest professional theater in this community and it provides the opportunity for people in this community to see professional theatre that was created in and for this community. I mean there are performing arts centers that house tours, but that's not tangible to some audiences. But, when you have your community’s theatre and you filtrate the out-of-towners with that, it's great for everyone. Because the local actors will learn from the actors that are from out of town and the actors that are from out of town will learn from the locals. And that's how you build a community. There’s a difference between bringing in a guest to your neighbor's home and bringing them into to your own home. I get so emotional about it. I've looked at this production as pressure. It's not pressure. It's an honor. So I wear that mantle and hold that honor tall and I'm going to bust my ass to do The Rep proud and to make this community come together and to remain together. Everybody has sacrificed so much for us to be here. The Rep started in 1976 in a church downtown with 60 seats--the community is not going to let this gem close and neither am I.

ZI: How important is diversity in the arts, and how do you plan to use Chicago to advocate diversity in the arts?

RH: Diversity is extremely important in the arts because the arts are the grounds for learning. If we see the social interaction on stage that we should have in life, it can really change the way people think. Pretty much every show I’ve worked on with The Rep has always been good about what people call “non-traditional casting,” but there is a difference between non-traditional casting and just casting the person that's right. For this particular show, I was determined to have an African-American woman play Velma. I was determined. And you know, it can be done that way, it wasn't done that way in the [2002 film adaptation], but it's one of the principal roles and there's nothing that specifies she be black, there’s nothing that specifies she be white, so why not? It's an incredible role. Diversity is also important because diversity is what really defines the world. We have racists that are strong, we have socialists that are strong, but they don't come out of their communities. Social interaction is key. If we see it on television, if we see it in our everyday lives, it helps. For example, I have friends in Fort Lauderdale that have a daughter. They are a white couple, I gave their daughter a black doll, and at first, I said, ‘well are they going to be upset about this? I just didn’t think about it.’ And you know what, she loved it. I think if we started doing things like this if people start giving black dolls to little white girls then they’ll be more receptive to understanding the challenges of the people that look like that doll. When you first see someone that looks different from you, you don't understand what that is, but when you grew up with that in your life, there's nothing better than that. You know, there’s a marble piece the lobby of the National Civil Rights Museum called “Faces” and in it are carved the thousands of nameless faces of varying nationalities that lost their lives during the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was for equality. Black people alone didn’t win that, white people alone didn’t win. We won that. The same with women's rights, the same with gay rights, it's not just women that are fighting for that, it’s all kinds of people who believe in that. It’s people interacting that make those things possible.

ZI: What do you believe is the responsibility of the artist to their community?

RH: To tell the truth. To give a truthful message both on stage and in life. Artists are confessed dreamers. Usually, artists are open-minded and non-denominational and non-discriminatory, so the responsibility is to share that message. To share the equality of us instead of the disassembling of us. Instead of disassembling, we should be assembling.

 

Zachery Ingersoll works as an intern in The Rep’s education program. He is finishing his degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and will graduate in December. He also serves as the assistant artistic director for the Weekend Theatre.

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