Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, cicero, lipschitz — Columbus had it coming; it only had Ohio State football to blame. This weekend the Broadway production of “Chicago” came to Columbus, full of energy, sass, drama and undeniable talent.
But while these factors seem uniform across all Broadway productions, the Columbus production of “Chicago” was hit with a new surprise and familiar face: Heisman Trophy winner and former Ohio State football star Eddie George took the stage as Billy Flynn.
The book, play and movie “Chicago” is based on real-life crime reporting in the Prohibition-era, intended to satirize corruption in the justice system through the idealization of criminals as celebrities. George’s character, Flynn, is the charismatic, high-paid lawyer known for winning cases through corruption, great acting and “dazzling” the audience.
And dazzle he did. George fit his role well, carrying himself with confidence across the stage just as he did on the field. He even threw a Heisman pose during his performance of “Razzle Dazzle” and stuck in an OH- at the end.
Despite his incredible acting talent and presence with the crowd, during the performance he was unable to hit some of the higher notes, falling flat in comparison to his fellow performers. However, for a man who has recently submerged himself in the Broadway scene, it would be unrealistic to expect his voice to live up to the other leads — some of who have been in the Broadway production of Chicago, in the very same lead role, for 10 years.
Speaking of the cast — what an impressive group of performers. The show was packed with just the right amount of attitude and seriousness, verging on overly sarcastic without going overboard. The cast fit their roles as if they were made specifically for them and were able to balance the rigorous dance moves while remaining on-pitch throughout the performance.
Another huge part of the play was not the cast but the orchestra stationed in the center of the stage. Not only were the musicians physically part of the performance, but they actually interacted with the performers throughout the play and became members of the cast.
Watching the composer become a character in the show in various scenes was entertaining and showed another degree of respect that the cast has for all those involved with making the production successful.
Overall, the entire performance brought diverse talent to a new level — from a Heisman-trophy-winner-turned-performer, to a cast that nails intense dance moves with perfect pitch, to an orchestra that acts as the cast. If Ohio State needed any more Ohio pride, this would be the show to see.