Through the stained lens of theatrical razzle-dazzle, Broadway’s longest running musical brings a tabloid tale of a 1920s murder trial to life. Featuring a smooth-talking lawyer and two murderesses who rely on lurid press coverage to build their vaudeville careers, the result is a devilish, sexy musical that toys with greed, political corruption and deceit. Chicago is performed by a UK cast, on a stage that is almost as bare as the actors, yet it sweeps you away with the sheer power of music and riveting choreography. We have a few words with Lindsey Tierney, who plays Roxie Hart, one of the two murder suspects.
What was your first taste of a musical?
Cats was the first musical I ever saw. I went on a school trip to London when I was about nine and absolutely loved it! I have been dancing since I was three but I think that was the moment I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career.
What is your favourite part and song?
I can honestly say that Roxie is my favourite. It’s such an iconic role that allows you to sing, act and dance. My favourite song also has to be Roxie, where she fantasises about being a star, surrounded by boys in a sassy number.
How long have you been wanting to play Roxie Hart?
Roxie is one of those roles that every girl in musical theatre dreams of playing. Since about 17 years old I’ve been listening to the Chicago soundtrack. I still have to pinch myself!
Do you think of her as highly misunderstood?
Yeah, definitely. She obviously murdered someone but in her eyes it was completely justified. She is actually quite a sweet, naive girl who just wants to be a star.
Hope this doesn’t come as an insult, but think you might be able to relate to Hart in any small way?
Most girls in this business dream of being a star. I think that’s the only thing that relates me to her. I’m sure I wouldn’t murder someone anyway. (laughs)
What do you think you can bring to the role?
I think I can bring the naivety and passion that she has for wanting to be on stage singing and dancing. It is a role of a lifetime I cannot wait to do it in an amazing place like Singapore.
What do you know about the true murders that inspired the musical?
It is quite interesting actually. There are two women that the characters are loosely based on. Beulah Annan, who is the inspiration for Roxy Hart and Belva Gaertner, a cabaret singer inspiring the character of Velma Kelly. Both women were acquitted of shooting their lovers.
What is the real story behind Beulah Annan?
She shot her lover in the back. According to her initial story, they had been drinking in her marital bedroom and started arguing. There was a gun on the bed and they both reached for it, an inspiration for one of my favourite numbers in the show.
What can we learn from Chicago?
The show is a lot of fun but I definitely think there are a few lessons to be learnt. Be careful how you treat people on the way up because you’re sure to meet them on the way down. But you’ll have to come see the show to find out more.
Chicago runs from 8 to 26 February. Tickets via Sistic