We’re taking you off to Chicago’, baby

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The director of Showbiz Queenstown’s next musical is confident of its success due to an embarrassment of auditioning riches. 

A record 75 people tried out two weekends ago for Chicago, set in the United States’ Prohibition era. 

For main leads Velma and Roxie, 23 women applied. 

“We could have cast the leads two to three times over,” director Bryan Aitken says. 

“We had good choices and that means the leads will be very strong.” 

The leads and sub-leads, particularly, fulfil Aitken’s ‘triple threat’ criteria – they can all act, sing and dance, Aitken says. 

“The interesting thing about this cast is there’s been quite a few women who’ve been away having families who’ve come back and really blown me away.” 

Aitken, who also directed Showbiz’s The Sound of Music last year, is also happy with the quality of men. 

“For what you might think is a female musical, it’s got a hell of a lot of men.” 

Playing principal characters are Nicole McLean (Velma), Fiona Stephenson (Roxie), Rachael Gerard (Mama Morton), Rob Wells (Billy), David Oakley (Amos) and K.R.Chuen (Mary Sunshine). 

The cell block murderesses are played by Amanda Fearnehough, Zelia Horrell, Tiffany Mitchell, Shannon Burrell, Tiffany Menzies and Michelle Thayer. Cast in female ensemble and cameo roles are Christiana Zhu, Jacquie Ennis, Lisa Moore, Thayer and Tania Carter.

Male ensemble and cameos are Alex Derbie, Gary Clearwater, Huffer Campos, Kyle Thompson-Connell, Paul Halsted, Paul McLachlan, Peter Laurenson, Sam Farr and Terence Fitzgerald. 

Female ensemble/dancers are Christina Wilson, Haley Purdon, Jodie Glinster and Paty Kirchoff. Backing vocalists are Kathleen Brentwood, Jules Molloy, Helen Bird, Isabella Reid and Fiona Bracken. 

Chicago runs at the remodelled Queenstown Memorial Centre from May 16-25.