Solaire launches theater with 'Chicago' musical

By Rocky Christopher Fajardo

Posted at Aug 14 2014 02:34 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2014 10:34 PM

The cast of "Chicago." Photo: Handout

MANILA -- Musical theater lovers will definitely have a merry Christmas this year as the Tony Award-winning musical "Chicago" debuts in the Philippines as the first-ever theatrical production to headline at the new theater of Solaire Resort and Casino.

"Chicago" will have a strictly limited three-week run from December 2-21.

“What’s really exciting is that we’ll be in the new Solaire Theater so it will be the first musical in this brand new theater in the Philippines,” Lunchbox Theatrical Productions CEO James Cundall said in an interview.

Cundall said the 1,760-seater theater is the "perfect" venue for the Manila debut of the long-running American musical in Broadway and West End.

The Solaire Theater. Photo: Handout

The Manila season of "Chicago" promises to impress with its timeless repertoire and seductive saga of deception and desperate cunning -- adding to the list of Broadway and West End smash hits that Lunchbox Theatrical Productions -- in partnership with Concertus Manila -- have brought to the Philippines such as "Cats" (2009), "Stomp" (2011 and 2014), "Phantom of the Opera" (2013) and "Wicked" (2014).

“I think the fact that it’s slick, it’s sexy, its sassy, it’s modern, and it’s sophisticated is what people will get. I think it’s a perfect show for this market. The audience here -- above any other Asian audience -- is very sophisticated. You understand musicals,” Cundall said, adding that he is confident "Chicago" will be a crowd-drawer for audiences looking to jazz up their holidays.

“I’ve worked with the American producers for 20 years on 'Chicago' so the quality of their work is excellent, I’ll go again and see it, but I know that 'Chicago' never fails wherever it goes,” said Cundall, who will be watching the Manila-bound US production before it opens in Manila.

Although "Chicago" has never been staged locally, Philippine audiences are familiar with the 2002 blockbuster film adaptation starring Renee Zellwegger, Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones, which went on to win the Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones) trophies in the 75th Academy Awards.

Presented in Manila by Visa and Smart Infinity, in cooperation with Solaire Resort and Casino, "Chicago" features an all-star American cast coming directly from the US.

Smart Infinity is offering an exclusive package featuring two VIP tickets, the official soundtrack, plus a premium device for both new and renewing members.

Existing Smart Infinity members and Visa cardholders also enjoy priority booking, plus 10% off on tickets purchased between August 8 and September 8.

The winner of six 1997 Tony Awards -- including Best Musical Revival -- and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording, "Chicago" follows housewife and nightclub dancer Roxie Hart who has murdered her secret lover. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival and cellmate Velma Kelly by hiring Chicago’s craftiest criminal lawyer to create a smokescreen of sensational media headlines to twist the details of her gruesome crime.