Outside the Arundel Barn Playhouse, pre-Fourth of July fireworks lit up Wednesday’s steamy night sky. Inside the barn, the playhouse was putting on a “razzle-dazzle” show of its own. 

It was an up-close-and-personal rendition of “Chicago,” with a minimal set and a small pit band. 

But, more was not needed. The eye-catching costumes added pizzazz, and the spirited cast made sure the production was indeed “all that jazz.”

The Arundel Barn Playhouse has cast Monet Julia Sabel (Velma Kelly) and Andrea Wright (Roxie Hart) as the musical’s media-chasing jailbirds, Mark Edwards (Billy Flynn) as their lawyer, Zack Steele (Amos Hart) as Roxie’s pathetic husband and Deidra Grace Chiverton as the prison matron, Mama Morton.

Sabel was sultry Wednesday, delivering strong vocals and well-executed choreography by director Dewayne Michael Barrett. 

“I Can’t Do It Alone” was a test of her dancing prowess, and she passed with flying colors.

Wright was fun to watch as Roxie Hart. There was vivacity to her performance that was infectious. 

She danced the Charleston with unending energy, and was a thoroughly entertaining ventriloquist’s dummy on “We Both Reached For the Gun.” Edwards served as her mouthpiece, artfully pulling her imaginary strings. The pair’s timing was on the mark.

Steele’s Amos was the perfect polar opposite of Edwards’ Flynn. Where Flynn was debonair and scheming, Amos was hopelessly dorky and gullible. Steele captured the hearts of the audience with his adorable rendition of “Mister Cellophane.” 

Chiverton added sass as Mama Morton, delivering a memorable performance of “When You’re Good to Mama” that was packed with attitude.

There are 15 cast members in total, with most performing multiple roles. Standout performances Wednesday included Elliot Lane (Sgt. Fogarty/Martin Harrison/Velma Trio/Roxie’s Boys/Company) as the announcer, and Valorie Lake as the wrongly accused Hunyak (company).

Gavin Parmley was a sight to see as Mary Sunshine. And, Phylicia Freeman (June/Company) wowed the audience with her skillful dancing.  

The female ensemble members were a delight as the jailhouse vixens on “Cell Block Tango” and Billy’s “girls” on “All I Care About.”

The “boys” kept the audience entertained on numbers such as “Tap Dance” and “Me And My Baby.” 

The production offers audiences an intimate view of “Chicago.” And, it’s a pleasure to watch Arundel Barn Playhouse’s cast deliver the well-known musical numbers up-close.  

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco.  She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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