Ohio University Lancaster Theatre "Chicago" poster

OU-Lancaster Theatre Presents “Chicago”

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Even though the title of the musical refers to a windy city in Illinois, the cast for the Ohio University Lancaster Theatre’s production of Chicago come from all over central and southeast Ohio.

The Ohio University Lancaster Theatre Department is doing one of only 23 licensed productions of Chicago in the United States this year.

The actors and dancers are primarily from Fairfield, Hocking and Franklin Counties. It’s a rare opportunity for aspiring actors and actresses in the region to do such a famous musical.

Shannon Webb is originally from Worthington and is an Ohio University Lancaster student majoring in Middle Childhood Education and minoring in Theatre. She is playing Roxie Hart, one of the roles in the show.

“Because Chicago is such a well-known show, one of the biggest musical productions in the history of theatre, it’s a big deal to be a part of it,” said Webb. “The movie came out when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school and I loved it! So, to do it on the stage is a big deal.”

“It’s wonderful how many talented people we have in this musical from all over the region,” said A. Victor Jones, theatre director. “They come from all different backgrounds and it really makes this production of Chicago special.”

The cast is made up of more than 30 people from the region with various educational backgrounds and theatre experience. Nine of the cast members are Ohio University Lancaster students and 14 are Lancaster residents.

In addition to the cast, there are 12 musicians in the orchestra and a crew of 20 backstage.

“The feedback I’ve received from my parents, family, friends and many people in my hometown has all been extremely positive. They are very supportive and excited to see our local theatre put on such a well-known show,” said Jessica Bouffioux.

Bouffioux is from Lancaster and graduated from Fisher Catholic High School. She has one of the lead roles, playing the part of Velma Kelley.

Shelly Riggs is the Theatre Director at Logan High School. In Chicago, she’s a dancer and a member of the chorus, and loves it.

“As a teacher and director, I’m usually on the other side of things, planning the technical aspects of a show, choreographing, directing. I am having a blast being an actor, and am enjoying just singing and dancing and performing,” said Riggs. “I audition for shows every couple of years or so, as my schedule allows, but they’re usually straight plays and not musicals. This is my first time in a musical in over a decade.”

Nicole Bishop is attending Capital University Law School in Columbus, but is enjoying spending her free time rehearsing for the part of “Go to Hell Kitty” for Chicago.

“This is a unique opportunity for me. I am in law school, so I do not get the opportunity very often to do something so creative and fun,” said Bishop.

“The energy of the cast is electric and we all mesh well together,” said Bouffioux. “There is not a single person who is not totally dedicated to the show.”

Chicago: The Musical will debut at the Wagner Theatre on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus on Sunday, July 22 during the Lancaster Festival. There will be two showings that day; the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m.

The play will not be shown again until after the Lancaster Festival during the first week of August. There will be showings on August 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. and August 4 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

There will be reserved seating for the show. Visit the OU-Lancaster Theatre website for tickets and information.