Jeremy Daniel Chicago
Helen Hatzis
Helen Hatzis
February 29, 2024 ·  5 min read

“Chicago” at the Ambassador Theatre: Featuring Ariana Madix

Working in the travel industry grants me unique access and insights into the latest trends. I recently traveled back to NYC to watch Ariana Madix from “Vanderpump Rules” perform as the iconic Roxy Hart. By the end of this review of ‘Chicago,’ I will provide a resource to help ensure you have the best possible Broadway experience.

Historic Milestone: A Record-Breaking Week

With the arrival of Arian Madix of “Vanderpump Rules,” “Chicago,” Broadway’s longest-running American Musical, has reached a monumental achievement in its illustrious 27-year history. According to Broadway World, the production grossed an astounding $939,177.40 for the week ending February 4, 2024, setting a new benchmark as its highest-grossing non-holiday performance week. This remarkable feat surpassed the previous record of $926,363.35 for the week ending March 26, 2023, showcasing the enduring appeal and revitalized vigor of this classic show. This financial triumph underscores the magnetic pull of the current cast and production, drawing audiences in droves and solidifying “Chicago’s” status as a cornerstone of Broadway excellence.

Jeremy Daniel
Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel 2024

The Legacy of “Chicago”: More Than Just Jazz and Jailbirds

“Chicago” is not just a musical; it’s a historical canvas that paints a vivid picture of the 1920s – an era marked by Prohibition, changing gender roles, and the rise of the vaudeville revue. Inspired by real-life murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, the musical transcends its entertainment value, offering a satirical look at how the legal system and media circus turned criminals into celebrities. The brilliance of John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Bob Fosse transformed this narrative into a dazzling spectacle that critiques the very fabric of American celebrity culture. This show is a mirror to the past, reflecting the societal changes and the tumultuous legal landscape of the 1920s, making it a masterclass in historical satire and musical excellence.

The Jazz Age Alive on Stage

The production at the Ambassador Theatre brilliantly captures the essence of the Jazz Age, with its spirited performances and a mesmerizing score that transports audiences back to a time of exhilarating change and cultural dynamism. The integration of vaudeville elements into the narrative structure of “Chicago” is a homage to the entertainment styles of the 1920s, adding layers of historical authenticity and artistic flair to the show. The orchestration and choreography are meticulously crafted to evoke the period’s ambiance, making each performance a time capsule that revives the era’s exuberant spirit.

Stellar Cast Ignites the Stage

Ariana Madix, famed for her role on “Vanderpump Rules,” has made a triumphant Broadway debut as Roxie Hart, bringing an unprecedented energy to the Ambassador Theatre since her first performance on January 29. Her portrayal has not only earned her a standing ovation but also significantly contributed to the show’s record-breaking week, with her limited eight-week run through March 24 signaling a new high in the production’s history. Madix’s transition from reality TV to Broadway star has been seamless, showcasing her versatility and captivating presence on stage. Her performance adds a modern twist to the classic role, making Roxie Hart more relatable and dynamic than ever before.

Supporting Cast: The Unsung Heroes

While Madix and Wright steal the spotlight, the ensemble cast and supporting characters provide depth and dynamism to the production. Red Concepción, as Amos Hart, delivers a heartrending performance that captures the audience’s empathy, showcasing the emotional spectrum of the show. The environmental staging, allowing the cast to engage intimately with the narrative and the audience alongside the live orchestra, elevates the theatrical experience to new heights. Mary Sunshine, portrayed by R. Lowe, adds a unique flair to the ensemble with a performance that seamlessly blends humor and vocal prowess, further enhancing the show’s dynamic range.

A Theatrical Experience for the Ages

“Chicago” at the Ambassador Theatre is more than just a musical; it’s a cultural phenomenon that reflects the enduring fascination with the intersection of celebrity, crime, and media. With Madix’s debut heralding a new chapter for this Broadway classic, the show continues to dazzle with its timeless narrative, spectacular performances, and a poignant critique of celebrity culture. The production’s ability to engage and entertain, while also providing a reflective commentary on societal issues, cements its status as a must-see. Whether you’re a Broadway aficionado or a newcomer to the theater, “Chicago” promises an unforgettable night of entertainment, layered with historical depth and sparkling with the razzle-dazzle of the Jazz Age. It’s a masterful blend of storytelling, music, and performance that captivates and delights, leaving audiences with a deeper appreciation for the art of theater and the complexities of human nature.

Broadway tip:

If you’re planning a trip to NYC and are eager to weave a musical — or two, or three — into your itinerary but are unsure which ones to select, I highly recommend turning to Broadway Inbound. With their team’s deep expertise, they can tailor recommendations to suit diverse audiences, ensuring you receive the most enriching and memorable Broadway experience possible.

When describing Broadway Inbound, The Broadway Collection, and all that we do, I begin with, we don’t sell Broadway. We help people buy, we help people to experience Broadway, off-Broadway, the Opera, the Ballet, and more.  A major component of that differentiation is working to match visitors with the most appropriate show to suit their unique tastes and preferences, no matter who they are, the kind of entertainment they like, or the amount of money they have to spend on tickets. There is a great diversity of entertainment available on Broadway. There is a show for everyone and within their price range — we just have to match you with the right one. Our team in customer service, operations, sales, and marketing are all NYC residents, theatre experts, and theatre enthusiasts with a love for travel. We see it all and use that knowledge to make sure that match is made, whether it’s over the phone, via email, or online. We continue to develop our communication and tech skills for the benefit of the people we work with daily.” Bob Hofmann, VP of Broadway Inbound.

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