Theatre / Feature

All you need to know about the murderous hit Chicago

The wildly popular musical has returned to the London stage!

Last seen in West End in 2012, the smash hit American musical Chicago has come back to the capital – and it’s got Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr at the helm!

Now running at London’s Phoenix Theatre, here’s what you need to know about it.

What is Chicago about?

Chicago was inspired by a Maureen Dallas Watkins’ play of the same name written in 1926. Later adapted into a stage musical, it premiered in 1975 and was directed by legendary choreographer Bob Fosse.

Having wowed audiences all around the world, Chicago has been honoured with six Tonys, two Oliviers and a Grammy. Earlier this year, it celebrated its 21st anniversary as the longest running musical on Broadway.

Chicago tells the thrilling tale of 1920’s nightclub performers turned murderesses. Dancing for their lives in order to stay off Death Row, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly enlist the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn to help them clear their names.

What can audiences expect from Chicago?

Chicago is packed with everything that makes a musical great. Topping the list is the sizzling score by John Kander and Fred Ebb. You’ll hear one showstopping song after another – including All That Jazz, Cell Block Tango, When You’re Good to Mama, Hot Honey Rag and Razzle Dazzle, among many more.

Plus, the intricate choreography is sure to grab your attention and keep you energised throughout the show. Just take a look at the production shots and you’ll get an idea of how captivating it is!


Who stars in Chicago?

Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr leads the cast of Chicago. Known for his roles in the films Jerry Maguire and Boyz in the Hood as well as for playing OJ Simpson in the American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson series, he’s making his British stage and musical theatre debut as Billy Flynn.

You can watch our chat with him about the role, what it’s like to move from screen to stage and much more below!


The cast of Chicago also boasts a talented trifecta of West End stars: Sarah Soetaert as Roxie, Josefina Gabrielle as Velma and Ruthie Henshall as Mama Morton.

Soetaert will be recreating the iconic role of Roxie Hart – a role she previously played at the Cambride and Garrick Theatres.

Gabrielle recently appeared as Laurey Williams in Trevor Nunn’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! She holds the distinction of being the first ever Laurey to dance her own Dream Ballet, recreated especially for her by choreographer Susan Stroman.

Henshall, of course, is a West End legend. She originated the role of Roxie when Chicago first opened in London’s West End in 1997, then returned to play Velma Kelly. She has also previously played both roles on Broadway.

What are the critics saying?

“A real pleasure to have the old razzle-dazzle back in town” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“Sexy, cool, sophisticated” ★★★★ – The Times

“The sexiest musical ever” ★★★★ – Metro

“Class. Gooding shows he has that in spades” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

What else do I need to know?

Chicago is open at London’s Phoenix Theatre, booking until 6 October 2018.

 Tickets are available now through

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