By Rebekah Martin
“If you can’t be famous, be infamous” is the tagline of the Opelika High School Theatre Society’s spring production of Chicago: The Musical. Set in prohibition-era Chicago, the 1926 play and the subsequent 2002 Academy Award winning movie tell the story of “sob sisters” Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart who were accused of killing their lovers in cold-blood. According to information on the production’s website, the musical is a satirical representation of Chicago’s corrupt criminal justice system and explores the concept of the “celebrity criminal.”
Director Revel Gholston said he chose the musical because it was a challenge. “They made the movie … and it won best picture, so I think that sparked a lot of people’s interest. The original musical, however, is quite different from the movie, a little darker and a little bit rougher as far as the women were concerned,” Gholston said. “Hollywood got a hold of it and turned it into a little more glamour and a little glitzier. We’re kind of a little mixture of both – the kids really like the movie … but we also understand that things that happened on stage originally can be adapted to pay homage to the original production. I think we’re doing that more than paying homage to the movie.”
Gholston said this production is more of a vaudeville show – a concert of all the musical numbers mixed with a variety show of what the movie represented.
More than 30 OHS students make up the cast. “It’s a big cast, it’s a fun cast … I’m always looking for something a little different to do, and this is different from the traditional musical, that’s for sure,” Gholston said. ““We’ve rented a hydraulic lift. We’re going to shoot people up and down stairs, so hopefully that will look cool.”
Gholston said the audience can expect a lot of fun, treachery and murder. “It’s an exciting show. People are going to see something that we’ve never done … I think it should be pretty cool to see our take on it.”
The production will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts. OHTS will hold performances on the following dates: April 7, 9, 15 and 16, all beginning at 7 p.m. Matinee performances are scheduled for April 10 and April 17 at 3 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more ticket information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 745-9715. The Opelika Center for the Performing Arts is located at 1700 LaFayette Parkway.