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Rick Gomez

on 30 January 2017

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Transcript of Chicago

Behind the Curtain III:
Roxie Hart
Based on...
The True Life Murderess: Beulah Annan
Behind the Curtain IV:
Velma Kelly
Behind the Curtain V:
Billy Flynn
A Musical Vaudeville

Behind the Curtain

Behind the Curtain II:
Bob Fosse
Also Based on...
The True Life Torch Singer: Helen Morgan
Behind the Curtain I:
Chicago (the city) in the 1920s
During the prohibition era (1920-1933)...
controlled speakeasies* (so called from the practice to speak quietly about the existence of such establishments)...
Chicago mobsters...
which often featured performers who were prominent Vaudevillians.
*Speakeasies were also known as blind pigs or blind tigers. Pay to see the pig and the drink is "free."
His favorite projects were about show business, or using show business as a metaphor or mask.
His choreographic trademarks were born out of his physical insecurities.
Whereas others put their talents in the service of the material, Fosse made the material a showcase for his talents.
A musical that satirizes the American criminal justice system as a genre of theatre.
Wants a career in Vaudeville.
She cheats on her husband with a man whom she believes can help her with her vaudeville asperations. He turns out to be an abusive fraud. She kills him and is sent to jail.
Popular in the 1920s Chicago club scene. Her trademark: Draping herself over the piano as she sings. This popular gimmick may just have been a front for her tendency to overdrink.
In 1924, she kills a man with a gun after a suspected fling, has a few drinks and listens to a record for 4 hours while she watches him die, then calls her husband claiming she shot the man for trying to make love to her.
A successful Vaudevillian (formerly of a sister act) who wants to retain her fame.
She catches her husband and sister in the act and kills them both. Attains notoriety while in jail until Roxie steals her thunder.
Based on...
The True Life Murderess: Belva Gaertner.
A 3-time divorced Cabaret singer, her (also) married lover was found shot to death in his car. Her blood stained clothes were found in her apartment.
Also Based on...
The True Life Saloon Keeper/Actress/Singer: Texas Guinan
A vaudeville performer known for her wild west saloon keeper schtick. Known as 'the Queen of the West." Her 300 Club in NYC was known for it's barely dressed fan dancers. Famous for the phrases, "give the little ladies a great big hand," and "hello suckers."
Roxie's song, "Me and My Baby," based on famous Black-face Vaudeville performer, Eddie Cantor
Velma's former routine as part of a sister act was standard material in Vaudeville
The Duncan Sisters
Lawyer to Roxie and Velma and the master Vaudevillian. Keeps his perfect track record by presenting his killer clients as sympathy acts.
Based on...
The True Life Lawyers
William Scott Stewart and W. W. O'Brien
Stewart and O'Brien are pictured here on either side of Beulah Annan. They defended some of the most notorious figures Chicago had to offer.
Also Based on...
The True Life the Smaltzy Bandstand leader, Ted Lewis.
Lewis was known for a hokey flare and his signature line, "is everybody happy?"
Billy's bit as a ventriloquist represents a common act of Vaudeville's heyday.
Behind the Curtain VI:
Matron "Mama" Morton
Based on...
The True Life Singer, Comedian and Actress, Sophie Tucker.
Known for her risque songs, and for her satisfaction with her larger size, Sophie was known as "the last of the red hot mamas."
Behind the Curtain VII:
Amos Hart
Based on...
The True Life Black Minstrel Vaudevillian, Bert Williams
As matron of the Cook County Jail, she's happy to do you favors, for the right price.
After cheating on Amos, Roxie takes further advantage of his simple, good nature so she can win her court case. Otherwise she barely notices him. Nobody does.
Starred in the first Black Musical on Broadway.
The first African American in Cinema.
The First African-American featured in a Broadway Revue.
Appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies.
Accomplished all this... in black face.
Of him, W.C. Fields said, Bert Williams was "the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew."
He died of overwork at age 46.
"Mr Cellophane," sung by Amos, is based on Bert Williams famous song, "Nobody."
Full transcript