Seton Hill Theatre and Dance Department present “CHICAGO”

Featured left to right: Leah Prestogeroge, Bethany Malinoski, Meliana Walko, Michaela Isenberg, Hannah Taylor and Riley Tate. Photo from F.McDowell/Setonian.

The Cook County Jail and roaring 20’s have arrived at Seton Hill University through the upcoming production of “CHICAGO” the musical at the Seton Hill Performing Arts center. The story follows a young woman named Roxie Hart. After killing her lover, her life takes a turn when she ends up in the Cook County Jail awaiting her trial. 

There she meets the famous nightclub star, Velma Kelly, and manages to get the slick lawyer Billy Flynn to defend her in court. Roxie dreams of being in the spotlight and that is exactly where she ends up with the help of Flynn. All of a sudden she is competing with Velma for the spotlight and possible parole, but Roxie quickly learns how tough fame and…all that jazz…can be.

Seton Hill students and faculty have been working hard since auditions, the first week of classes to bring this production to life. 

“We chose to do ‘CHICAGO’ with our committee,” said director and associate professor of theatre, Denise Pullen.“I really lobbied for this show.” 

This is Pullen’s “17th or 18th”  production here at Seton Hill with the theatre department. There is something special about this show in particular. 

“There are no protagonists and yet we still root for all of them, despite their despicability.” Pullen said. 

Students have been putting in a lot of time to make this show come to life at rehearsals each night. “We rehearse five nights a week, six to 10 p.m. each night. It’s a huge commitment for the performers.” Pullen said. 

Seton Hill’s Roxie Hart, senior musical theatre major, Maddie Kocur, was able to discuss what the process has been like for her. 

“I have been doing theatre somewhere between 10 and 12 years,” said senior musical theatre major, Maddie Kocur. “I have watched the movie CHICAGO probably over 50 times. I think the music is so iconic and the style of the show and the story that it tells is really powerful. I’ve always been in love with the show so it is surreal to be in it.” 

Kocur also talked about how well the rehearsals have been going in addition to what it is like to play a lead role like Roxie.  

“Roxie is very driven, especially at the middle and towards the end as she tries to really get what she wants. I’ve learned that she’s so much more than a chorus girl. She’s just a person like anyone else who has a dream and wants something in life.” Kocur said.  

“CHICAGO” the musical showtimes are slated for Oct. 25-26 and Nov. 1-2 at 8 p.m., Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 27 and Nov.  3rd at 2 p.m. It will take place at the Seton Hill Performing Arts Center in the William Granger Ryan Theatre.

“She has wanted it for a very long time, but she hasn’t had the chance to ever pursue, but then this opportunity comes along. She finally takes the chance and it’s really fascinating to see the journey that she goes on to get to where she’s at.” Kocur said. 

 Tickets are $15 general admission, $9 Seton Hill Faculty and Staff and $5 Seton Hill Students (with valid ID). For tickets you can go to setonhill.edu/tickets or call (724) 552-2929. For more information you can email the box office at boxoffice@setonhill.edu

“It is just pure musical theatre. It’s got great ensemble numbers, lots of energy and the dancing is wonderful. The story is compelling and it just has something for everybody,” said Pullen. “People should come see CHICAGO because we have a KILLER cast and ensemble. The show is so funny and mysterious. I think anyone could find something to take from it and enjoy!” 

Come see SHU’s “CHICAGO”, with book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and direction by Denise Pullen.

Published by Caitlin Srager

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