Both Tupele Dorgu (Velma Kelly) and Stefan Booth (Billy Flynn) admit that being cast in Chicago has fulfilled a life-long ambition. Booth declares that Billy Flynn is nothing more than his “dream role”, explaining that what makes this part such a great one to play is that “there’s so much more to him than meets the eye” and adding that it makes a change playing “not just a good guy; a hopeless romantic”. The actor confessed that the role “constantly challenges” him and ensures that it really “brings out the best” of him. There is no indication that this daunts Booth, instead he keenly stated that it makes him “look forward to every show of the tour”, even if being on the road for 11 months can sometimes be “a pain in the arse”.
Dorgu too sees Velma as a character she always wanted to play, explaining that “it was always Velma for me”. For her, Velma is a “fun” part to which she could truly connect and enjoyed “following on her journey” throughout the course of the musical. Of course there is the fact that Velma is a totally different role from her past work, but Dorgu seems to love “embracing the challenge” to “try and get everything to the part”. Dorgu explained that she “loves every bit she does”, though in particular the entrance and the number ‘Nowadays’. With this number Roxy and Velma finally present a united front to their audience. Dorgu said that she loved how this number starts “quite tense and tentative, almost nervous” but then ends with a great audience reception. In this way Dorgu felt she could truly to connect with her character. She stated that she can really understand Velma as, of course, for every actress “it is a big deal to get your own show”, in fact “getting the part (for Chicago) was exactly the same”, and then finally receiving applause from the audience and seeing “that people really appreciate what you do is wonderful”.
What’s clearly helped both to “really enjoy the job” is the support from the rest of the cast. Booth commented that it “is so rare to find a cast that doesn’t grumble” and Dorgu claims that the whole experience has been “like becoming part of a family”. As part of this family both do not, of course, just refer to their fellow actors but also (amongst others) the live orchestra and Dorgu mentions that they had to “work very closely with the choreographer”, who told them “stories and the originations of these movements”.
It is clear that Dorgu and Booth are looking forward to bringing the show to Oxford. Booth commented that he has definitely been spurred on by their experience in Ireland where everything was “electric” and “people were with you every step”. He recommends to “anyone that has never seen a musical” that “this is the one to see”. Booth promises a show where “every night something magic happens” and Dorgu commented that this, in part, is due to the fact that “there is always the chance that something happens out of control”. It will definitely be interesting to see whether Chicago can truly “whip the audience up in a frenzy”.
Chicago plays at the New Theatre Oxford until Saturday 10th of November.