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Saint Mary’s to stage ‘CHICAGO’

| Friday, April 15, 2016

Saint Mary’s will present the musical “CHICAGO” this weekend, with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s a very strong cast that we have in this show, and the sense of energy that fills the auditorium when they are performing these numbers is electrifying,” director Mark Abram-Copenhaver said. “It’s a fun evening of theater.”

“CHICAGO” tells the story of the women in Cook County Jail for murdering their husbands. However, beyond the surface of the story, the play explores history and demonstrates the innate need to feel important, Abram-Copenhaver said.

“What we see is characters that are desperately trying to be acknowledged as being important in some way,” Abram-Copenhaver said. “They each go about doing that in different ways, but, in spite of the fact that they have this really human need that people can relate to, the way we see them go about it is really dark.”

Abram-Copenhaver said the need to be acknowledged and feel important is precisely what makes the play relatable to so many. 

“They violate the law, they manipulate the press, they manipulate the court system — they are just really cynical about rules and ethics,” he said. “None of those things are really important to them in their quest for attention. This might sound like some people we all know.”

Not only does “CHICAGO” explore the human desire for recognition, but it also is an empowering story for women, Abram-Copenhaver said.

“It is irreverent and it is sexy,” he said. “Especially this being a story about women, it is about female empowerment and females claiming power where they normally have none. The opening number is clearly that — these women in situations where they are all murderesses, they are all on trial for their lives — but they are in this number claiming that what they did was the right thing to do.”

The sexiness of the play is something that sets it apart from other musicals, first year Jennie Liu said. 

The costumes are professionally made, personalized and more revealing, and the script contains some words that would normally be replaced in a high school play,” Liu said.

Liu wanted to participate in the production to experience a new type of theater, she said. 

“I decided to participate in “CHICAGO” because I loved the movie and the musical, and I wanted to see how a college production is different from a high school production,” Liu said.

Due to its unique nature, “CHICAGO” differs from even other college productions, Abram-Copenhaver said.

“This is going to be unlike other shows that you see at the schools, either Saint Mary’s or Notre Dame,” he said. “This is edgy, it is jazzy, and it is sexy in a way that many of our shows don’t have the opportunity to be.”

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a junior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies.

Contact Jordan