Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle and Ruthie Henshall, all previous stars of CHICAGO, will join Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr as the multi award-winning Kander and Ebb musical returns to the West End after a five-and-a-half-year absence. Following a successful UK and international tour, CHICAGO begins performances at London’s Phoenix Theatre on Monday 26 March 2018.
Further casting for CHICAGO is still to be announced.
CHICAGO originally ran in London for 15 years, making it the West End’s longest-running revival. It first opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 to rave reviews and immediately became a sell-out hit. CHICAGO won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Musical Production’ as well as the 1998 Critics Circle Drama Award for ‘Best Musical’. CHICAGO transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006, where it ran for five years until 27 August 2011. The show then opened at the Garrick Theatre on 7 November 2011, where it ran until 1 September 2012.
Since it opened in New York in 1996, CHICAGO has played in 36 countries worldwide, and been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean. It has grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and has played over 30,000 performances worldwide, with an estimated 31 million people around the world having seen CHICAGO.
CHICAGO continues to play on Broadway, where it recently celebrated its 21st birthday, and around the world in multiple languages. It is the world’s longest-running American musical.
CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1996 Broadway revival of CHICAGO was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.
Sarah Soetaert will be recreating the role of Roxie Hart, the role she previously played at the Cambridge and Garrick Theatres. Her other theatre work includes Cats, Carousel, Fame, Kiss Me Kate, On the Town, The Sound of Music and The Glenn Miller Story.
Josefina Gabrielle played the role of Roxie Hart at the Adelphi and Cambridge Theatres. She will now be making her debut as Velma Kelly. Josefina played Laurey Williams in Trevor Nunn’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, and she holds the distinction of being the first ever Laurey in any production of Oklahoma! to dance her own Dream Ballet, recreated especially for her by choreographer Susan Stroman. Josefina’s other London and West End credits include The Witches of Eastwick, Hello, Dolly! opposite Samantha Spiro, Sweet Charity, Maria Friedman’s production of Merrily We Roll Along, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical.
Ruthie Henshall has the honour of being the only British actress to have played all three leading female roles in CHICAGO, having originated the role of Roxie Hart when CHICAGO first opened in London’s West End in 1997, then returning to play Velma Kelly, and now returning to the show to play Mama Morton. She also played Roxie and Velma on Broadway. Ruthie’s musical theatre career spans four decades, beginning with Cats at the New London, followed by Miss Saigon, Children of Eden, Les Misérables, Crazy For You, Oliver!, She Loves Me (for which she won the Olivier Award), Peggy Sue Got Married, The Woman in White, Marguerite, and, most recently, Billy Elliot.
Cuba Gooding Jr will be making his British stage debut and his musical debut as smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn. His breakthrough role was as Tre Styles in Boyz n the Hood (1991), followed by A Few Good Men (1992), before winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Jerry Maguire(1996). Later films included As Good as It Gets (1997), Men of Honor (2000) as Carl Brashear, Pearl Harbor (2001) as Doris Miller, American Gangster(2007), The Butler (2013), and Selma (2014), playing civil rights attorney Fred Gray. In 2016, he portrayed O.J. Simpson in the FX drama series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-series or a Movie. In 2013, he made his Broadway theatre debut alongside Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams in the Tony Award-nominated production of The Trip to Bountiful.