JCJC's theater department presents “Chicago”

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-10-10 14:02:53

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College’s M.P. Bush Auditorium has been transformed to the 1920’s prohibition-era Chicago and the Cook County jail for its musical theater production of “Chicago.”  Performances will be on Friday, October 28, and Saturday, October 29, at 7 p.m., and a matinee showing at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 30, in the JCJC Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $5 and JCJC students can see the play free with their JCJC I.D. College officials want to remind parents that, “Chicago” has adult themes and may not be suitable for young children.
“Three years ago we did ‘Cabaret,’ which has some serious, adult-themes,” said JCJC musical theater producer, Nikki Johnson. “For theater students it is important to offer a variety of musicals and characters to allow them to be versatile and capable of playing these roles as they pursue their degrees.”  
Taking on a more serious and adult-themed production is a switch from the last two years with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”   Returning to the stage in a lead role as the flashy lawyer, Billy Flynn is John Wright of Yazoo City.   He has played Snoopy and Seymour, which are vastly different from his new character.
“‘Chicago’ is a musical about jazz and a life of crime. I play Billy Flynn, a high priced, quick-talking lawyer. In this musical there is comedy, excitement and all that jazz. Playing this role in comparison to last year’s role as Seymour is completely different. Seymour was shy and meek, Billy is confident and strong.”
Joining Wright will be JCJC student from Moselle, Wesley Slade as Amos Hart. Slade will also have the opportunity to challenge his acting skills as he plays Roxie’s ‘dim-witted’ husband.
“Maybe I’m being type-casted,” Slade joked about his new role. “I enjoy playing these interesting characters. Mr. Moshnik was a greedy, conniving businessman and this year, my character is not too bright. I like the challenge.”
 Some newcomers taking the stage spotlight include Wright’s co-star, Kelsey Cook of Laurel playing Roxie Hart. While this is Cook’s first lead role, she is not a stranger to the stage. She has been in seven musicals and is a member of Jones OnStage. 
“‘Chicago’ has always been a favorite of mine, so I was excited to learn we were doing the musical at Jones,” said Cook. “This musical has by far been the most challenging and yet the most rewarding production I've had the honor of playing in. I wanted the part of Roxie because I felt she and I were, in a way, a lot alike. We are both daydreamers who just wish to see our name in lights.”
The Tony award winning show pits Roxie and the other “Merry Murderess” Velma Kelly, played by Latisha Hamilton of Raleigh, against each other as they vie for fame, fortune and acquittal. The two also compete for their attorney’s affection, the limelight, and ultimately for their lives. The audience will discover how the tangled ‘web’ the women weave is unraveled, leaving their futures uncertain. With its sharp-edged script, the satirical look at corruption in the 1920’s era Chicago features a dazzling musical score by Bob Fosse. Teaming up with musical producer, Johnson is guest director, Rob Mulholland.
“This musical is going to amaze people with a great cast and crew, and fabulous directors in Nikki Johnson and Rob Mulholland. ‘Chicago’ is astounding,” said Wright. He and the cast have been working on the musical since school started, August 20. For more information about the show contact the JCJC Fine Arts department at 601-477-4094.
The cast of Chicago includes:
Emcee / Bandleader- Miles Alexander, Long Beach
Velma Kelly- Latisha Hamilton, Raleigh
Roxie Hart- Kelsey Cook, Laurel
Fred Casely - Matt Strickland, Petal
Sergeant Fogarty - Dustin Bryant, Petal
Amos Hart- Wesley Slade, Moselle
Liz- Abbie Gray, Columbia
Annie - Hannah Hodges, Ellisville
June - Kimberly Farrell, Ellisville
Hunyak - Brooke Armstrong, Newton
Mona -Kayla Sims, Petal
Matron- Kensey Coleman, Vicksburg
Billy Flynn-John Wright, Yazoo City
Mary Sunshine- Evangeline Faile, Seminary
Go-To-Hell-Kitty - Khloe Folkers, Ocean Springs
Male Chorus: Wesley Barnett, Laurel; Robert Brady, Jr., Hollandale; Joshua Crosby, Ellisville; Jawara Frazier, Laurel; Logan Goodin, Petal; Martell Pearson, Pearl.
Female Chorus: Anna Lee Blakeney, Raymond; Kelsey Fleming, Shubuta; Larisha Hamilton, Raleigh; Ashley Longino, Hattiesburg; Leah May, Taylorsville; Audrey O’Neil, Quitman; Katie Quinnelly, Laurel; Kayla Sims, Petal;  Natalie Harris, Laurel.


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