Josefina Gabrielle (pictured) will return to Chicago to play murderess Roxie Hart for the fifth time, taking over from American recording artist Ashlee Simpson in the role. Gabrielle's fifth season in the musical, running for four weeks only from 30 October to 25 November 2006, marks the highest number of returns to the show to date – although Anita Louise Combe has played Roxie three times and Velma once, while Clarke Peters has played Billy Flynn four times on the West End stage.

Gabrielle joins current cast members Ian Kelsey, Amra-Faye Wright, Julian Sims and Brenda Edwards as Billy Flynn, Velma Kelly, Amos Hart and Mamma Morton respectively. Gabrielle’s other stage credits include the National Theatre production of Oklahoma, for which she was nominated for an Olivier, and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End. This summer, she appeared in the Noel Coward double bill Tonight at 8.30 at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The London production of Chicago celebrates its ninth anniversary at the Cambridge Theatre on 18 November 2006, when it will have played 3,743 performances to more than four million people. The show celebrates its tenth anniversary in New York on 14 November with a Broadway Tenth Anniversary Gala starring the original Broadway cast, including Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, James Naughton and Joel Grey, as well as a host of other stars from its ten-year run, including Melanie Griffiths, Brooke Shields, John O'Hurley, Huey Lewis, Lynda Carter, Chita Rivera, Amra-Faye Wright and Ashlee Simpson, direct from her run in the London production.

Chicago won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. The 1975 musical, about a wannabe jazz star turned murderess, 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 stage revival is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. It opened at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre (where the original London production of the Kander and Ebb musical opened in April 1979 and ran for 603 performances) on 28 April 2006, after a record-breaking eight-and-a-half years at the Adelphi Theatre, where it opened in November 1997.

- by Caroline Ansdell