Chicago in Manila: Meet Roxie and Velma

They razzled. They dazzled. Chicago’s Manila run doesn’t begin until December 2, but the leading ladies of the cast dropped by Solaire last week to give the press a preview of what to expect at the show.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the role of Roxy Hart in the Manila run will be played by Bianca Marroquín, who I saw in Broadway a few months ago. Terra Macleod will play the role of Velma Kelly.

Bianca Marroquín (left) as Roxie Hart and Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly in the Tony Award-winning hit musical, Chicago. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of Concertus Manila.

Bianca Marroquín (left) as Roxie Hart and Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly in the Tony Award-winning hit musical, Chicago. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of Concertus Manila.

The high-strung ladies charmed the press with stories of how they were cast for the role and how they’ve grown with each performance.

Bianca Marroquín

Originally from Mexico, Bianca made her Broadway debut in 2002. She just wrapped up her first starring role in a Spanish language soap opera and her debut album, Nuestros Tesoros. Theater credits: In the Heights, The Pajama Game, And The World Goes Round, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and The Beast, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Chigaco, and Vagina Monologues. Photo by Zai Boongaling." width="450" height="674" /> Originally from Mexico, Bianca made her Broadway debut in 2002. She just wrapped up her first starring role in a Spanish language soap opera and her debut album, Nuestros Tesoros. Theater credits: In the Heights, The Pajama Game, And The World Goes Round, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and The Beast, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Chigaco, and Vagina Monologues. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

Originally from Mexico, Bianca made her Broadway debut in 2002. She just wrapped up her first starring role in a Spanish language soap opera and her debut album, Nuestros Tesoros. Theater credits: In the Heights, The Pajama Game, And The World Goes Round, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and The Beast, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Chigaco, and Vagina Monologues. Photo by Zai Boongaling.” width=”450″ height=”674″ /> Originally from Mexico, Bianca made her Broadway debut in 2002. She just wrapped up her first starring role in a Spanish language soap opera and her debut album, Nuestros Tesoros. Theater credits: In the Heights, The Pajama Game, And The World Goes Round, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and The Beast, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Chigaco, and Vagina Monologues. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

On performing onstage: “There’s nothing like it—just the live experience of it and the energy with the audience.”

On playing Roxy: “I’ve been in the show for 13 years from Mexico and then when I crossed over to Broadway. Every time I’ve grown up with Roxy. I believe that the universe kind of gave me a gift and said, ‘Here, here’s this role, go and grow up with it, go and experiment with it.’ …We go through loss and changes, and I say the only constant thing in life is change, and the only constant thing in my life is Roxy.”

On catering to different audiences: “Different cultures, different comedy. As a comedienne you have to change your timing, do pauses in different places, and change things a bit, because they’ll laugh at some things over there, and they’ll laugh at other things over here.”

On her favorite song from Chicago: “Nowadays I love it when we’re finally at the end of the show and [we say] those words ‘nothing lasts forever.’”

On bonding with her costar, Terra: “We’ve become better friends. Things happen to us in our own personal lives and we share and help each other. We give each other therapy.”

Terra C. MacLeod

Terra (center) has played Chicago’s Velma Kelly around the world, from Broadway to West End, the French premiere in Montreal and Paris, international and national tours, and the 10th anniversary gala. She also appears on TV and film. Theater credits: Blood Brothers, The Producers, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cats, The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and A Chorus Line. Photo courtesy of Concertus Manila." width="450" height="300" /> Terra (center) has played Chicago’s Velma Kelly around the world, from Broadway to West End, the French premiere in Montreal and Paris, international and national tours, and the 10th anniversary gala. She also appears on TV and film. Theater credits: Blood Brothers, The Producers, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cats, The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and A Chorus Line. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of Concertus Manila.

Terra (center) has played Chicago’s Velma Kelly around the world, from Broadway to West End, the French premiere in Montreal and Paris, international and national tours, and the 10th anniversary gala. She also appears on TV and film. Theater credits: Blood Brothers, The Producers, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cats, The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and A Chorus Line. Photo courtesy of Concertus Manila.” width=”450″ height=”300″ /> Terra (center) has played Chicago’s Velma Kelly around the world, from Broadway to West End, the French premiere in Montreal and Paris, international and national tours, and the 10th anniversary gala. She also appears on TV and film. Theater credits: Blood Brothers, The Producers, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cats, The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and A Chorus Line. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of Concertus Manila.

On keeping in shape: “Yoga is my go-to. That’s what’s helped me. In the gym, [I do] free weights. I don’t like to overwork, just like an athlete. Say you’re training in football [for example], [when] you’re not in season, you slow down a little bit to let the body recuperate.”

On landing the role of Velma Kelly: “When they auditioned in Canada for the French company, I couldn’t make the audition. I was filming something so I said to my agent, ‘Just send the tape,’ and they said, ‘We don’t do tapes.’ I said, ‘Just send the tape.’ They sent the tape and I didn’t hear anything. A month later I got a phone call. Long story short: I got it! I cried because I knew my life would change.”

On living the dream: “[Chicago] started in 1999 and now it’s 2014 and I still pinch myself. You just never know… It really does happen. Work hard—right time, right place. I didn’t take no for an answer. [They said they] don’t see tapes. Well, I said no, they’ll see my tape. And they did and it worked out.”

Manipulation at its glitziest

Set in the 1920s, Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer with aspirations of becoming a Vaudeville star, who murders her lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.

Headliners Bianca Marroquín and Terra C. MacLeod dropped flew in to Manila for a few hours for the press conference of Chicago. Photo by Zai Boongaling. " width="450" height="300" /> Headliners Bianca Marroquín and Terra C. MacLeod flew in to Manila for a few hours for the press conference of Chicago. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

Headliners Bianca Marroquín and Terra C. MacLeod dropped flew in to Manila for a few hours for the press conference of Chicago. Photo by Zai Boongaling. ” width=”450″ height=”300″ /> Headliners Bianca Marroquín and Terra C. MacLeod flew in to Manila for a few hours for the press conference of Chicago. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

“It’s a timeless piece,” said Terra. “There’s a dark humor in all of it and I think that it’s a global theme—murder, crime, corruption, and sensation.”

Kate was here. It was an honor for me (center) to meet the talented lead actresses of Chicago last week. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

Kate was here. It was an honor for me (center) to meet the talented lead actresses of Chicago last week. Photo by Zai Boongaling.

Renowned for the exhilarating choreography by Bob Fosse’s and a jazzy musical score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Chicago’s revival opened in Broadway in November 1996 and a year later, in London’s West End. It is now the longest running musical in the US, and has been staged in over 24 countries and translated into 11 languages.

Chicago will run for a limited season (December 2-21, 2014) at Solaire Manila’s newest luxury event venue for performing arts—The Theatre. Ticket prices: P7,500, P7,000, P5,500, P4,250, P2,500, P2,250, P2,000 and P1,750. Tickets are available at TicketWorld.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission

Chicago in Manila is produced by Concertus Manila, Lunchbox Theater Productions, and David Atkins Enterprises.

September 22, 2014



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