October 18 was ¡Viva Broadway! night—celebrating Hispanic and Latin theatre makers and audiences—for the Tony-winning revival of Chicago at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre.
Portions of the performance of the long-running production, now celebrating 25 years on Broadway, were performed in Spanish, including the final reprise of "All That Jazz." The company is currently led by a trio of Latin leads: Ana Villafañe as Roxie Hart, Tony winner Paulo Szot as Billy Flynn, and Bianca Marroquín as Velma Kelly. In fact, Marroquín boasts a 20-year history with the Tony-winning revival, having previously played Roxie Hart in the Broadway company on and off over the last two decades, with over 4,000 performances. She now joins a short list of women who have both played Roxie and Velma in the show, including Tony winners Chita Rivera and Bebe Neuwirth and Olivier winner Ruthie Henshall.
Rivera, Broadway's original Velma, was in the audience October 18 and also made an appearance on stage prior to the second act to help celebrate Marroquín's history with the hit musical. Watch Broadway icon Rivera's tribute as well as a few highlights of the evening above.
¡Viva Broadway! is an audience development initiative of The Broadway League, with a long-term aim to celebrate Latino talent and increase awareness of and engagement with Broadway. Marroquín is an ambassador of the program alongside Gloria Estefan; Luis Miranda serves as the advisory board chair.
The current cast also features Tony winner Lillias White as Matron Mama Morton, Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart, and Ryan Lowe as Mary Sunshine.
The revival of Chicago began life as one of the three annual Encores! presentations offered by New York City Center. The musical opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in November 1996, where it remained through February 1997. The musical transferred to the Shubert Theatre, and played that house through January 26, 2003. The revival reopened at the Ambassador Theatre January 29 that year.
It is now the second-longest running show in Broadway history (after The Phantom of the Opera).
With a book by the late Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Ebb, Chicago features direction by Walter Bobbie, choreography by the late Ann Reinking, set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design Ken Billington, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and casting by Stewart/Whitley.
The current production, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 as well as awards for actors Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, director Bobbie, lighting designer Billington, and Reinking. The original production was directed and choreographed by the late Bob Fosse.