I don’t think it’s an accident that ‘Black History Month’ and Valentine’s Day share the month (February). People of color are big-hearted, forgiving, and hopeful. All qualities are needed to find and keep true love.
Showing your partner that you care does take effort on both sides. And planning for date night is a challenge because there is so much to do in New York. We suggest CHICAGO because the musical seems to be designed for the perfect date night: married, single, engaged, LGBTQ+, or straight. Theater lover or musical novice — this musical just hit differently.
To begin with, CHICAGO the Musical has its tangled roots in love. An obsessive and jealous love but love nonetheless. The musical is based on the 1926 play written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, the reporter assigned to cover the 1924 trials of murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner. Watkins loosely based Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn, and other characters in the play on the individuals involved in these famed Chicago courtroom proceedings. Belva killed her lover in his car.
Twenty-six years later and the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical CHICAGO ( Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC) has earned the title of Broadway’s longest-running American musical. Many elements make this the perfect musical for Valentine’s Day and date night, but we should begin with the music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb with a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse.
The current cast of CHICAGO features Charlotte d’Amboise as Roxie Hart, Lana Gordon as Velma Kelly, James T. Lane as Billy Flynn, Jinkx Monsoon as Matron “Mama” Morton, Evan Harrington as Amos Hart, and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine. The cast also includes David Bushman, Christine Cornish, Jennifer Dunne, Jessica Ernest, Jeff Gorti, Arian Keddell, Mary Claire King, Marty Lawson, Joseph London, Barrett Martin, Sharon Moore, Drew Nellessen, Celina Nightengale, Brian O’Brien, Denny Paschall, Jermaine R. Rembert, Rachel Shur, and Michael Scirrotto. To get a beat on romance, we asked Rubens A. to share what he planned to dazzle his wife for Valentines’ Day. He chooses the musical CHICAGO. Here’s what he had to share.
NEW JERSEY URBAN NEWS: Why do you think CHICAGO is such a good choice for a date night?
RUBENS A.: Music. What we loved most about [CHICAGO] is that it’s framed around the orchestra. There are almost no props on stage, yet it feels empty at no point. It’s all about the music and the dancing, nothing else to distract you. And it showcases the talent of both the orchestra members and dancers/singers equally.
NJUN: ‘Where words fail, music speaks’ [Hans Christian Andersen]. Is CHICAGO your first musical?
RA: This is by far not our first musical! But we love seeing anything that Broadway has to offer. We would recommend it, especially to someone who is just starting with Broadway shows. It’s always easier to see a show when you know the story (ie, watched the movie Chicago before); otherwise it can feel overwhelming for your first time.
NJUN: That’s a great point. What’s date night like after COVID-19? Is 2023 popping?
RA: What is date night like in 2023? We have to make time for it, that’s for sure! But if there is one thing that becoming parents of twins has taught us, it is that everything in our lives starts with our relationship, our happiness, and our togetherness. And we have to nurture that just as much as we nurture our kids. And we also have learned to let anything can be date night! From getting dressed up and see Chicago and enjoying a meal to wearing PJs on the couch after the kids go to bed and enjoying a funny movie and a little fancy wine in a paper cup.