All that jazz: MTS’s Chicago opens in Greene Theatre

By Haley Clough 

Image courtesy of MTS’s “Chicago.”

Raunchy, flirty, and unbelievably talent-packed, MTS’s production of “Chicago” went up this Saturday in Emerson’s Greene Theatre. The energy in the Greene was thick, almost tangible, as the house opened for the 7:30 p.m. invited dress. The cast is packed with Emerson’s best: dancers, singers, and actors, all seasoned performers.

In summation of the performance, there are only two words that suffice: Nikki Yar. Yar took the renowned character of Velma Kelly, one of the six “murderesses,” and made the role newly reinvigorated. Yar’s comedic timing was brilliant, vocals were flawless, and stage presence was hypnotic. It was a privilege to watch her perform. Alongside Yar were the equally talented Kell O’Bryan as Roxie Hart, Sydney Simenauer as Mary Sunshine, and Lauren Wiedenmann as lawyer Billy Flynn. Each cast member took the 1975 classic musical and made it a modern, equally as entertaining and stunning performance. 

The chemistry between the cast members was not lost on the audience either. Josie Dring told WEBN that the cast’s closeness likely had to do with the rehearsal process, which was six weeks, two weeks longer than the typical time allotted for an MTS show. “The cast dynamic… We are such a community. We call it ‘Chicago hive mind’,” said Nikki Yar. “We had a lot of time to dance together, sing together, and act together, and then we even got the flu together,” she joked. 

“This show has been a dream of mine for four years and I’m so excited to share it with you,” said Connor Spring to the invited dress audience. What Bob Fosse was as a director to the original “Chicago” production, Connor Spring was to Emerson MTS’s production. Spring’s MTS directorial debut infused passion, decisiveness, and a unique commentary to a decades-old production. 

“‘Chicago’ explores the crossover between law and entertainment, and in an era of live broadcast trials, true-crime podcasts, and body cam footage I can’t imagine a more exciting story to explore,” said Connor Spring in their director’s note. The “Chicago” cast was unblemished and well deserving of a standing ovation.

“Chicago” will have two shows this Sunday in the Greene, both of which sold out within a minute of ticket sales opening.