Album: Chicago: Music from the Motion Picture

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Album:

Chicago: Music from the Motion Picture

Artist: Danny Elfman, Various Artists
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Label: Sony

The movie version of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago was long in the making, but it’s well worth the wait. Director Rob Marshall’s main change was to turn the classic musical numbers into fantasy sequences, but of course this isn’t obvious on CD. Most importantly, the arrangements are bursting with life while being true to the show’s spirit, and the casting is simply inspired. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually started her career on the British boards (she was in The Pajama Game and 42nd Street), so her turn as slinky Velma Kelly isn’t that surprising;…

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Amazon.com

The movie version of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago was long in the making, but it’s well worth the wait. Director Rob Marshall’s main change was to turn the classic musical numbers into fantasy sequences, but of course this isn’t obvious on CD. Most importantly, the arrangements are bursting with life while being true to the show’s spirit, and the casting is simply inspired. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually started her career on the British boards (she was in The Pajama Game and 42nd Street), so her turn as slinky Velma Kelly isn’t that surprising; Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart is more of a leftfield choice, but she shows she can handle the singing demands with pizzazz. The real revelation may well be rapper Queen Latifah, who belts out “When You’re Good to Mama” with a marvelous affinity for the material. OK, so the R&B reprise of “Cell Block Tango/He Had It Coming” by Queen Latifah, Macy Gray, and Lil’ Kim fails to convince, while Anastacia’s “Love Is a Crime” is just blah (rest easy, purists, it’s over the end credits). On the other hand, the CD provides two bonuses: “Class,” which was cut from the movie, and “I Move On,” a great duet written by Kander and Ebb for the final cut. It’s really easy to mess up film adaptations of Broadway shows. Happily, Chicago proves it can be done right. —Elisabeth Vincentelli

Related Works

Film:Chicago (2002)

Chicago

Rob Marshall

Bob Fosse’s sexy cynicism still shines in Chicago, a faithful movie adaptation of the choreographer-director’s 1975 Broadway musical. Of course the story, all about merry murderesses and tabloid fame, is set in the Roaring ‘20s, but Chicago reeks of ‘70s disenchantment—this isn’t just Fosse’s material, it’s his attitude, too. That’s probably why the movie’s breathless observations on fleeting fame and fickle public taste already seem dated. However, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones are beautifully matched as Jazz Age vixens, and Richard Gere…

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