Donna Marie Asbury, 56, has been with the revival almost from the beginning: She joined the first national tour in December and the Broadway company in March The young woman is planning to be a writer or director. Asbury said, laughing, during a chat in the empty Ambassador Theater. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation. I have actually always thought of myself as a singer first, but how lucky that this style came very easily to me. I love doing it and it looks good on my body, thank God. What did you think of the TV series?
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It's altogether too heavy to let the slender, foolish story breathe. Al Capone wasn't Hitler and Cicero wasn't Munich. In short, another time, another place, another—nonsensical rather than gloomy—world.
THE Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb and John Kander musical ''Chicago,'' which had its premiere on Broadway in , still manages to bring life to daily newspaper stories of political corruption and covert activities. The show's fascination hinges on the fact that it relies on theatrical razzle-dazzle to make entertaining its coldly cynical story of two murderesses who parlay the lurid press coverage of their crimes into a vaudeville career. There are no sympathetic characters in ''Chicago,'' and the tendency is to root for deceit over decency. The heroine of ''Chicago. Amos, who is basically the only honest one in the lot, is portrayed as a fool at best, as an insensitive clod at worst, and a wimp the rest of the time. It's in their tricky dealings with each other that these characters really shine.
Dare the audience to look at you, and then look back at them with murder in your eyes," Bob Fosse reportedly advised the cast of the musical "Chicago," which has been given a sensational in more ways than one concert staging by the Encores series at City Center. That advice was easier for the performers to swallow than for much of their audience. Ebb and Fosse, opened the same year as Michael Bennett's "Chorus Line," and while it had a healthy, two-year run, it was Bennett's work that swept the Tonys and broke box-office records. Chicago" was, in a sense, the evil twin of its rival musical, as acerbic and cold-hearted as the other was sentimental and warm. Nominally, the show is about a two-bit, aging chorine named Roxie Hart who becomes a headline-grabbing star by killing her lover. But it is as much about Fosse's love-hate relationship with his profession. That's show biz, kid. Cellophane," it left an acrid aftertaste in so many memories. Yet if "Chicago" was shaded by contempt for entertainers and the suckers who worship them, it also couldn't suppress the flip side of Fosse: a sheer joy of craft and its power to exhilarate.