Chicago the Musical

As we reported on Twitter last night, long-running musical Chicago has posted closing notices at the Garrick Theatre for 1 September 2012, just weeks shy of its 15th West End birthday on 18 November.

In a press statement released this morning, producer Barry Weissler, who, along with his wife Fran, has mounted the show in New York, London and around the world, said: “Bringing Chicago to the West End was a pivotal moment in Fran’s and my career. Running 15 years has been a dream come true. We may be taking our ‘parting shots’ for now, but the Razzle Dazzle will never fade!”

Composer John Kander added: "What a great experience this has been. The fact that the London audience has embraced our show for 15 years fills me with gratitude and pride. Thank you all for your warmth and enthusiasm.”

The multi award-winning revival of Kander and Ebb’s 1975 Broadway musical will continue its separate, ongoing UK tour and, as Weissler has hinted, it may return to London in the next few years.

Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The current production, which transferred from New York, is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse.

It originally opened at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 and went on to win the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. In April 2006, it moved to the Cambridge Theatre, where it ran for five years before making way for the transfer of Matilda the Musical. It has been running at the Garrick since 7 November 2011.

Skating out on celebrity

Chicago, which has become renowned for its celebrity, stunt casting, will finish with a topical, Olympic twist with Olympic medallist Robin Cousins joining the cast as super-slick lawyer Billy Flynn, the man who defends sexy murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, from next Tuesday 17 July 2012.

The current West End cast also features Sarah Soetaert as Roxie, Rachel McDowall as Velma, Tony Timberlake as Amos Hart and Jasna Ivir as matron "Mama" Morton.

The original London cast starred Ruthie Henshall, Ute Lemper, Henry Goodman and Nigel Planer, and, since then, over the 15 years, the many stars who’ve appeared in the West End production of Chicago have included Alison Moyet, America Ferrera, Anita Dobson, Aoife Mulholland, Ashlee Simpson, Bonnie Langford, Brooke Shields, Chita Rivera, Christie Brinkley, Claire Sweeney, Clive Rowe, Darius Danesh, David Hasselhoff, Denise Van Outen, Gaby Roslin, Ian Kelsey, Jennifer Ellison, Jill Halfpenny, Joel Grey, John Barrowman, Josefina Gabrielle, Kelly Osbourne, Kevin Richardson, Leigh Zimmerman, Les Denis, Lynda Carter, Maria Friedman, Marti Pellow, Michael French, Michael Greco, Michelle Williams, Peter Davison, Raza Jaffrey, Sacha Distel, Tina Arena and Tony Hadley.

Chicago is one of only six musicals to have reached 15 years or more in London’s West End, the others being Cats, Starlight Express and other current long-runners Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Blood Brothers.