People do not get murdered every minute in the musical Chicago – it is maybe very three or four minutes.
The tuneful musical Chicago, about two women killers, and I mean KILLERS, will be staged at the State Theatre in New Brunswick Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19, and old New Brunswick will never be the same.
Chicago is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history and was also a very successful movie. The road tour of the show started in West Palm Beach, Florida, last week and is headed for New Jersey with dozens of “prosecutors” on its theatrical trail.
Why is the musical so popular?
“Oh, I think it’s a lot of things,” said Robert Quiles, the actor who plays the role of Amos Hart, the betrayed husband of Roxie Hart, one of the two murderous women in the story. “The main reason is that audiences love sensational stories, and no story is more sensational than a murder tale. Americans love stories about killings. Here you have several. We love the good guy killed by the bad guy sure, but there is nothing like cruel women with guns in their hands and murder in their hearts. We always did like murder stories, do now, and aways will.”
One of the elements of Chicago is the way the press ballyhooed murder stories in the 1920s.
“The reporters could not wait to cover a murder back then,” Quiles said and then paused. “And the press does it today, too.” He stopped to think. “I believe that today it is worse because of TV and Cable TV and social media. You sit in your living room and boom, there is a brand-new murder right in front of you on the television news. Today we get murder stories on the news in a few seconds and then the network covers the murder day after day and month after month. We love murder stories where we live, but we love them everywhere else, too. They have become part of our culture.”
Katie Frieden, photo by Jeremy Daniel
“I think, too, murder is the darkest part of our lives. What is the worst thing you can do? Kill somebody,” said Quiles.
He thinks Chicago is an all-star murder play. “Our main characters lie, cheat, murder people. Oooohhh, they are a bad lot,” he said. “Following the story is fascinating and the audience keeps wondering what bad, bad thing will happen next.”
He thinks there are other reasons people will enjoy the play, too.
“There are a lot of great songs in Chicago and the audiences in New Jersey will love them. There are a lot of funny moments in the story, too, and great humorous little scenes that the actors love.” he added.
This is his fist national tour and he is enjoying it.
“I am one of those people who wants to see the country, all of it. What better way to do it than on a play tour bus trip? You visit all these cities for a day or two or three and at the same in each city you see the sights. And at the same time, I’m having the time of my life acting in a show and meeting lots of interesting people,” said the actor.
For him, it all started when he was a child in New Jersey.
“My parents loved theater and took me when I was kid. I was hooked. In high school, I was in a theater group that staged plays. I think during my senior year in high school I made up my mind to be an actor,” he explained.
“I had the chance to major in theater arts at Fairleigh Dickinson University and then became a professional actor. I think going to Fairleigh Dickinson was good for me because you don’t learn just how to act, but learn the history of theater and its place in American society,” said Quiles.
He thinks he made the right choice. “I love acting and I love to meet people, a lot of people. Where could you do both better than in the theater?”
“But murder plays?
“Hey, nobody shot me yet…” he laughed.
Performances of Chicago take place at the State Theatre (15 Livingston Avenue) in New Brunswick, New Jersey on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm and Sunday, November 19, 2023 at 1:00pm & 6:30pm. For tickets and more information, click here.
Katie Frieden and Company, photo by Jeremy Daniel