Hilo becomes ‘Chicago’ this Friday; glamorous musical to run through mid-July

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The iconic musical ‘Chigago’ opens on the Big Island June 28. Photo Courtesy: Larry Reitzer

“Chicago” – the musical extravaganza filled with girls, guns, glamour and glitz – opens June 28 at the historic Palace Theater in Hilo on the Big Island.

The show will run through July 14, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

“Chicago” features a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. It remains the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and the only musical to win multiple Tony Awards, a Grammy and an Oscar for Best Picture.


Set amidst the outrageous and sexy decadence of the 1920s, “Chicago” is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub performer who murders her lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.

“Chicago” at the Palace Theater is produced and directed by Larry Reitzer, who most recently directed “Grease,” “Avenue Q,” “Cabaret” and “The Lion King.” It features choreography by Hilo resident and former Broadway and Fosse dancer Michael Misita – who appeared in the original Broadway company of “Pippin” –and Jason Aiwohi Tomlin, musical direction by Grayson Mento and Kyra Gomes, lighting design by Theon Weber, set design by Bob McWhirk, costume design by Lizbe and Mahina Bell and sound design by Pepe Romero (CJ’s Promotions) and Kevin Meada. The show is produced through special arrangement with Concord Theatricals and the Hilo Education Arts Repertory Theatre.

“Mr. Fosse created such a timeless and entertaining show,” said Reitzer. “It’s an incredible evening of singing and dancing and acting, with a comedically dark and satirical moral to it.


“You don’t expect people to be laughing and dancing about things like the manipulation of the courts and the abuse of celebrity, and women in prison… but they do!” Reitzer continued. “That’s what satire has to be, otherwise it’s not fun, fresh and relevant. ‘Chicago’ has been running on Broadway for twenty five years, clearly they’re doing it right.”

“Chicago” stars a cast of 40. It features Hilo’s own Meili Aspen (star of Katy Perry’s music video “Electric” as well as season 20 of “American Idol”) as Roxie Hart; Aleah Kay as Velma Kelly; Jeremy Lee as Billy Flynn; Chris Kocian as Amos; N. Bonsall as Mary Sunshine; and alternating in the role of Matron “Mama” Morton will be Yisa Var and Arieka ‘Pomai’ Conant-Longakit.

Tickets can be purchased through the Palace website or at hearthilo.org.

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