“Chicago” is a model of urban redevelopment. The musical, based on a 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins (based in turn on actual sordid events that occurred in Chicago while Watkins was a journalist) was a modest hit in 1975. Its score — music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb — gave us the showtune standards “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle.” Director/choreographer Bob Fosse’s dances were the stuff of legend.
A 1996 concert-style revival of “Chicago” overseen by Fosse cohort Ann Reinking led to a full-blown albeit scaled-down revival, played on a sparser stage with fewer props and costumes. Simplicity succeeded. That revival became a smash hit that is still running in New York over two decades later and has spawned numerous touring companies. (The release of an Oscar-winning film version of “Chicago” in 2002 didn’t hurt.)
Connecticut’s proximity to New York has meant that some of the best performers who’ve played superstar lawyer Billy Flynn (including Tom Wopat and Tom Hewitt) have been seen in the role when tours have visited the landmark Shubert in New Haven. The current national tour of “Chicago” has a rather special Billy Flynn: former NFL running back Eddie George, who has already starred in “Chicago”’s Broadway production.
“Chicago” is at the Shubert, 254 College St., New Haven, June 1 to 3. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $126. 203-562-5666 and shubert.com.