Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 17°C

Search
Suffolk Day Shop 2018

Suffolk stage star Ruthie Henshall creates West End record as she returns to musical Chicago

PUBLISHED: 08:46 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:46 16 February 2018

Suffolk's West End star Ruthie Henshall who is about to become the first actress to have played three leading roles in the same London show when she returns to Chicago in March 2018.

Suffolk's West End star Ruthie Henshall who is about to become the first actress to have played three leading roles in the same London show when she returns to Chicago in March 2018.

Archant

Mega-musical Chicago is heading back to the West End and Suffolk stage star Ruthie Henshall is heading back into the spotlight with it and in the process becoming the first actress to play three leading roles in the same London show.

Ruthie Henshall is returning to West End musical chicago becoming the first actress to play all three leading roles Ruthie Henshall is returning to West End musical chicago becoming the first actress to play all three leading roles

When the show opened in 1997 Ruthie won an Olivier nomination for her role as Roxie, then she rejoined the musical in 2003 and took over the role of Velma Kelly and now for the 21st anniversary revival she is playing corruptible prison warder Mama Morton, who has two stand-out songs When You’re Good To Mama and Class.

This latter number was dropped from the six-Oscar-winning movie because it was considered too rude for family audiences. The innuendo laden lyrics means that the actor playing the role can have a lot of fun with the song.

She said: “I suggested Mama Morton because I had done Velma and Roxie and by doing Mama I felt that I was completing the circle.

Ruthie Henshall as Roxie Hart in the 1997 West End production of Chicago with Henry Goodham and Utte Lemper as Velma Ruthie Henshall as Roxie Hart in the 1997 West End production of Chicago with Henry Goodham and Utte Lemper as Velma

“Bebe Neuwirth, who is best known over here for appearing in Cheers and Frasier, did the hat-trick on Broadway and I’m going to do it in the West End.

“It feels a special thing to do for the 21st anniversary. Once you are part of the Chicago family, you feel part of something bigger than you, and it’s great to be part of a show that’s so well loved.”

This latest revival of the show which has Cuba Gooding Jnr as Billy Flynn and is set to open at the Phoenix Theatre in March. The initial run is expected to last for three months.

Set in the Prohibition-era, Chicago was written by musical partnership John Kander and Fred Ebb and is a satire on corruption in the criminal justice system and the concept of the celebrity criminal.

The original production was choreographed by Bob Fosse and his signature-style is strongly identified with the show.

What attracted Ruthie to Mama Morton was that it was a real actors role.

“Mama knows what’s what and you can really have fun with the part,” she said.

“She is The Keeper of the Keys. She can make things happen if you grease her palm.

“She is as manipulative as any of the inmates.

“She appears to be helping the girls but the reality is she’s helping herself. It’s a part you can really get your teeth into.

“When she’s on stage she’s really front and centre.

“I can’t wait for rehearsals to begin.

“It’ll be great to be back and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

In addition to her West End triple crown, Ruthie remains the only one to have played both Roxie and Velma in the West End and on Broadway.

She also won Best Actress in a Musical during her time with She Loves Me which took five Olivier awards in 1994.

She was also nominated for Polly Brown in Crazy For You.

This current production of Chicago had its debut on Broadway in 1996, and arrived in the West End a year later.

The West End revival ran for nearly 15 years has become the longest-running American musical in West End history.

Rail services on the Great Eastern Main Line are back to normal today after a track fault on the approach to Liverpool Street station caused disruption last week.

Forecasters have predicted some warmer weather in the region this week – and temperatures could hit the 26C (78F) mark on Wednesday.

A houndly hastag and new website have been launched ahead of the return of this year’s Suffolk Dog Day.

Tributes are being paid to an Ipswich man who has died suddenly at the age of 34.

After weeks of voting we are pleased to announce the winners of our Bonny Baby competition.

The Pavilion House in Reydon Grove is currently on the market - could this be your dream home?

Can you see yourself or someone you know in our photo gallery? All pictures were taken at Yates in Ipswich on Saturday, June 16.

Monster trucks, superheroes and life-size film characters delighted guests as the first ever Truckfest East rolled into Ipswich this weekend.

Are you pictured in this gallery from a night at Spring Tavern pub in Ipswich over 40 years ago?

Multi-million pound plans to create a pioneering institute of technology in East Anglia have leapt forward, it can be revealed today.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24