Home > Theatre > Chicago
Musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
Adelphi Theatre London
Maria was in the show from 16 November 1998 to 12 June 1999 and returned from 11 October 1999 to 12 February 2000.
Maria on Chicago
"I thought they'd gone insane when they asked me [to do Chicago] It's a show full of sexy, slinky, gorgeous, leggy people. Which is not the way I, or anybody else, has ever perceived me." [read full interview]
"It's sexy and funny, and has a difficulty that appeals to me. But there is also something very freeing about its physicality. For many years much of the work that I've done has been in my head." [read full interview]
Cast (November 1998)
Cast (December 1999)
Principal Cast Changes
During her break from Chicago, Maria filmed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
After her break she was expected to return to the musical on 16 August 1999, but this was delayed until 11 October 1999.
Quotes From The Press
"...The show was gloriously reclaimed last night by Maria Friedman succeeding Ruthie Henshall as Roxie Hart, on trial for shooting a lover boy...Ute Lemper is replaced as Velma by 23-year-ild Nicola Hughes... She is the big, beautiful Hardy to Miss Friedman's chipper, comic and rather sad little Laurel. The bigness of Friedman's revelatory performance, though, is completely sensational..." Michael Coveney, The Daily Mail (3 December 1998)
"...The trouble is that while the show retains its bare flesh, minimal staging and little black dress approach, Nicola Hughes's Velma and Maria Friedman's Roxie don't quite fit the fishnet tights of their predecessors. They are far too nice and wholesome, failing to exude the faintest whiff of menacing sexiness. They are both kittens, when what the role and staging demand is that they be tigers posing as pussy cats. Friedman's Roxie, in particualr, appears to believe every single word that she says and sings. With that vulnerable bruised face of hers, you want to believe that there are extenuating circumstances when clever old Kander and Ebb signal definately that there are none. It is not talent that is at issue her, but casting and direction. Friedman and Hughes are exceptional performers, and in other circumstances they would almost certainly shine. But their natural warmth - and Friedman's instinct for the comic - are out of place in the cold, shiny, sexy, brittle world that is Chicago." Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (3 December 1998)
"...if the two new female stars are not so neat a match as Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper, there is a comic and energetic devilmment in Maria Friedman's Roxie and some astonishing high kicks from the Velma of Nicola Hughes - though she fades more than she should when her rival's fame eclipses her." Jeremy Kingston, The Times (4 December 1998)
"...A year ago, this came across as a cynical production of a briliantly cynical show. Fascinatingly, Chicago now has a heart of darkness. The secret is in the casting. Last year, it was all star turns. Now we are seeing a properly told story... When it was announced that Maria Friedman was taking over as Roxie, the big question was: could see dance it? No worries. Snapping the brim of her bowler and kicking up her heels, she is sensational. In her magnetic solo, she loses herself in a fantasy of ego, humming ecstatically to herself, and her arousal fills the theatre. Her voice shimmers breathily and her character's dream of stardom is thrillingly made flesh. Better still is the scene in which meets her husband - beautifully playee by Peter Davidson - after she is released. In her moment of triumph she has been abandoned by the press. Her eyes widen in the darkness and her voice cracks as she whispers: 'They didn't even want my picture.' A tiny moment, but shockingly touching. You thought you knew Chicago? Look again." David Benedict, The Independent (4 December 1998)
"...Henshall and Lemper have now left, but it is a pleasure and a relief to report that Chicago has lost none of its famous razzle-dazzle... Maria Friedman seems finally to have found the role she has been waiting so long for, the one that is going to turn her into the major star she deserves to be. If this performance doesn't do the trick, nothing will. She may lack Henshall's dark beauty, and I suspect she would not describe herself as a natural dancer - though she certainly goes for it with vim - but she has an astonishing intelligent and mischievous vitality. She also sings superbly, laying bare every ounce of irony and wit in every number." Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph (4 December 1998)
"...A year on, with the major parts recast, Kander and Ebb's Chicago, at the Adelphi Theatre, packs even more of a punch than it did when it opened...Maria Friedman takes over as Roxie, the ex-chorus girl who finally rises to stardom on the strength of a murder charge. Anyone who has heard Friedman knows that she is an outstanding singer; now she demonstrates that she can dance, too, with plenty of pep. And her acting is sharper than that of her predecessor, Ruthie Henshall. She's more mischievous, more-worldly-wise..." John Gross, The Sunday Times (6 December 1998)
"...The new cast has one stunning asset: the extraordinary Maria Friedman, whose dynamic energy and brilliant stage-sense guarantees a sexy, sassy, high-precision show. She doesn't put a foor wrong, or a note. Iy's a complete performance in a small frame packed with raunchy cuteness. When she sings you listen; every word tells, clean and purposeful, and with a breath-control that any opera singer would be pleased to duplicate. How she can be so animated and produce a pure, firm sound, I can't imagine. But she does, and it's a joy..." Michael White, The Independent on Sunday (6 December 1998)
All content on About Maria is archived here without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only. This is an unofficial webpage. Contact.