‘Chicago’ players to take main stage

Keith Hartman, Copy Editor

At 7:30 p.m. March 1 to 3, Pitt-Johnstown’s Theatre Department is to return to the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center’s main stage with the production of “Chicago: The Musical”.

This would be the first time on the main stage since “South Pacific” in winter 2008.

“Since it’s the main stage we’ll only be doing it for three days unlike performances on the studio stage that get two weeks,” said theatre professor Ann Marie Stewart, who is to direct the production.

“It takes a bigger name to get the main stage and we have to work with the Performing Arts Center to schedule the dates.”

Rights to the musical were obtained in May 2010, but it took time to coordinate with center managers to set dates. It was not until October that cast members were selected.

Set in the 1920s, “Chicago: The Musical” follows Roxy Hart played by senior Jamye Brooks on trial for her lover’s murder and Velma Kelly played by freshman Emily Felton on trial for her husband and sister’s murder.

Kelly recruits lawyer Billy Flynn played by junior Cliff Maloney Jr. only to have the attorney taken by Hart, causing tension in the Cook County Jail.

The majority of roles will be played by veteran theater students making Felton’s role rare. This will be her first as a Pitt-Johnstown student.

This will not be Brooks’ first time on the main stage. She was involved in “South Pacific” in 2008.

“The movements need to be more exaggerated on the main stage because you’re in a larger space performing for 1,000 people,” said Brooks.

“There is a different group of people than we usually have on the studio stage. When we perform there, most people watch it and tell their friends. Then, the next week, all of our shows start to sell out.”

This will be theater veteran Maloney’s first time on the main stage.

“It’s a huge undertaking; you have to rethink the whole process. It’s like a Broadway setting.

“We’re all awaiting that first step into the light to get the true feeling of what the main stage is like.”

Tickets are on sale for $5 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 27 to March 1. Cast members are to be selling tickets in the Student Union.