Saturday Evening Post: Really, REALLY Late Edition – Chicago

Again, apologies for our site outage. Talk about frustrating – our site went down not because of anything we did or our hosting company. Nope, we were caught in the collateral damage between two warring companies upstream for us in the big, wide, less-than-wonderful world of routers, DNS and OC3s. Turns out, you can’t really make anything foolproof, because fools are so bloody ingenious. Having said that…

One of my not-so-secret pleasures are musicals. I grew up the son of a musician, so I come by this honestly – over the course of my career, I’ve played in the pit orchestras of probably close to 100 musicals (so many, in fact, I’ve forgotten all of them that I’ve done). One that I haven’t done (yet) is the musical Chicago, the retelling of the (mostly) true story of not one but two sensational Crimes of the Century, where women were accused of offing their lovers by way of lead poisoning.

Even if you’re not fond of movies where characters suddenly and inexplicably burst out in song, this one’s worth watching. A top-notch cast (Reneé Zelwigger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere), imaginative staging and directing netted it an impressive number of Academy Awards a few years back, well-deserved awards, I might add.

The number featured here is recounts lawyer Billy Flynn’s attempt to spin the accused’ story to try the case in the press. Interestingly enough, the original story upon which the musical is based, was written by the character played here by Christina Baranski, reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, one of the so-called founders of the “sob-sister journalist” movement in the 1920s.

Years after writing the story, Watkins became a born-again Christian, and believed that glorifying the story of the murders was wrong. As a result, the musical (and subsequently, the movie version) were not made until her estate negotiated the sale of the rights following her death.

At any rate, it’s an entertaining movie, and a great number. Enjoy.

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