"Chicago" at Broward Center

Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly. (Paul Kolnik / October 11, 2013)

So why should you see “Chicago,” now playing at Broward Center for the Performing Arts?

I mean, let’s just say you’re not a “Seinfeld” fan, so the prospect of seeing the “J. Peterman” actor John O’Hurley onstage hinting at his grace as a “Dancing with the Stars” alum just doesn’t do it for you.

Or let’s just assume you’ve seen the 2002 Oscar-festooned film version starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, and feel THAT is the definitive work, easily out shining any live version with sheer superstar wattage.

Maybe you’ve caught any number of previous road tours or local productions in South Florida and now feel that fer cryin' out loud; enough is enough already.


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So why this one? Why now?

Because this is an excellent cast, that’s why. Not good. Not great. Excellent.

They dust off and jazz up the Bob Fosse-John Kander-Fred-Ebb satire of Prohibition-era murder, celebrity, jurisprudence and the power of razzle-dazzle.

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“Chicago” tells the tale through Roaring '20s song and dance of a couple of merry murderesses, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly. Having separately landed in the Cook County Jail, never you mind how, the two flappers end up sharing oleaginous lawyer Billy Flynn, after bribing the warden, Mama Morton. What follows is a craven campaign to dupe the press and public by throwing a little grit and grime into the wheels of justice.

Here during this Fort Lauderdale run, Velma is verily vampy (Terra C. MacLeod with a jaded smirk). Roxy remains ribald (sweetly bitchy Anne Horak). Amos is comically cuckolded (wide-eyed Todd Buonopane).

Matron Morton (Carol Woods, soulfully riffing) is the last of the red-hot mammas, and Billy Flynn (O’Hurley, oozing charisma out of every pore) comes off as the kind of raconteur who puts on his dinner jacket promptly at 6 … even if he’s not going out … out of sheer habit.

They deliver the show’s many hits – “All That Jazz,” “Razzle Dazzle,” “Cell Block Tango,” “When You’re Good to Mama,” “Class” and “Mister Cellophane” – with the precision of a well-oiled machine.

The show is supported by an indefatigable chorus (one of the best I’ve ever seen do "Chicago;" recreating Ann Reinking’s choreography as if she were in the wings) and a peppy 13-member band (three in the rhythm section traveling with the show and 10 recruited locally).

I wouldn’t blame you if you took a pass, but, seriously, missing this one is a crime.

“Chicago” will play through Oct. 20 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays (6:30 p.m. Sundays); 2 p.m. matinees Thursdays and Saturdays; 1 p.m. matinees Sundays. $34.50-$79.50. Call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.