Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia University Theatre will present Chicago, the world-famous musical about fame, fortune and “all that jazz” on April 12-14 and 18-21 at 8 p.m. and on April 22 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre. Originally crafted by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, Chicago at UGA will be directed by Tony award-winning guest artist Chet Walker.
Through a series of jazzy song and dance numbers, Chicago tells the story of murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart-two vaudeville dancers, one a star and the other a chorus girl-as they scramble to get by in a world full of what the show’s master of ceremonies describes as “murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery-all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”
UGA hired Walker, an internationally acclaimed director/choreographer, as a guest artist for this production. Walker began performing on Broadway at 16 and appeared in four Fosse musicals: The Pajama Game, Pippin, Dancin’ and Sweet Charity. He has also created choreography for Cirque du Soleil and Compania Internacional de Theatro Musical and at Jacob’s Pillow where he serves as director of the jazz/musical theatre dance program. Walker’s many stage credits include 42nd Street, A Chorus Line and Follies, but he is best known as the creator and co-choreographer of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical revue Fosse, which showcases the distinctive choreography style of Walker’s mentor.
Fosse “changed my life forever,” Walker said, “and was part of my life from the day I auditioned for him until five minutes before his passing.”
Walker describes his pleasure in sharing his own wisdom and skills with a new group of musical theatre students, “just as Mr. Fosse shared with me. His showmanship, his talent as a director/choreographer/writer and his humanity all have influenced the shows he created. … And his way of working in detail, imagery and layers are all that I want to share every time I work as a director/choreographer.”
David Saltz, head of the UGA department of theatre and film studies, said that “getting to work with Chet Walker-who studied at Bob Fosse’s feet, performed countless times under his direction and who won a Tony Award for recreating Fosse’s choreography on Broadway-is a truly extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students.”
According to dance captain Hayley Platt, who just returned as a UGA student after taking time off to work with Disney Live! and Walt Disney World Entertainment, Walker captivates and inspires with his own flawless technique; he “never sits and directs but gets up, does it and does it well.” Shelli Delgado, a theatre major who plays the role of Roxie, commends Walker’s “tremendous knowledge and love of this show. Every fiber of this show is full of energy and life and brilliance.”
“Though Chet has directed Chicago dozens of times elsewhere, this is an entirely original production built around the talents and qualities of our performers and designers,” Saltz said.
Chicago is sponsored by Holiday Inn of Athens and is supported in part by the President’s Venture Fund through the gifts of the UGA Partners and other donors. Additional support is provided by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Department of Dance.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students. Tickets are available at drama.uga.edu/events/boxoffice, by calling 706/542-4400, in person at the Performing Arts Center box office or at the door before the show.
For more information on the department of theatre and film studies, see drama.uga.edu.