Wilton Playshop presents Chicago the Musical

Karen Morneau Photography
The Wilton Playshop has stepped back in time to the Roaring Twenties with its production of Chicago the Musical, which premiered April 29 and runs through May 14.

Set in 1920s Chicago and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago takes a dazzling and satirical look at fame, justice and media during the Jazz Era and features songs like Cell Block Tango and All That Jazz.

This year marks the 20th year of Chicago’s Broadway revival, said Ralph Pastore, director of Wilton Playshop’s show, and although “not many theaters are given the license to stage this show,” the Playshop was “lucky to be one of the very few in our area to have the opportunity.”

Tom Cuffari is musically directing the show, Wilton Conservatory of Dance owner Christine Titus is choreographing it, and Wilton resident Janice Dehn is producing it.

“The music is spectacular and very well known, and it has a great story,” Pastore said. “The story, plot and music together work really well and go hand in hand.”

From the approximately 40 to 45 people who auditioned in early February, around 20 were selected to be in the show.

The show’s executive producer, Carin Friedag, said the cast is “filled with familiar faces to those in Fairfield County,” including Wilton dentist Dr. James Aris, local business owner Maurice Segall, and Wilton residents Kasey Luce, Donna Savage, Katie Wingertzahn, and Wilton High School junior Nikki Scamuffo.

“I have always loved Chicago,” said 16-year-old Scamuffo. “When I saw it on Broadway, I remember being completely blown away by the energy of the cast.”

In the Wilton Playshop production, Scamuffo plays Velma Kelly, “a vaudevillian performer” with a successful double-act with her sister, Veronica.

After a show, Velma walks in on her husband, Charlie, and sister having an affair. Out of rage, Scamuffo said, she shoots both of them — committing a “cold-blooded double homicide” that receives lots of media attention.

While imprisoned, Velma enjoys the publicity surrounding her crime, but the attention is stolen from her when Roxie Hart, a new murderess played by Claire Kelly, enters the prison.

“Velma is quickly disregarded and forgotten by the public of Chicago,” said Scamuffo, “and her only hope is to convince Roxie Hart into replacing her deceased sister in her famous double-act so they can both share their stardom.”

Scamuffo said she has been in “many productions throughout the years,” and playing Velma has been “an incredible experience.”

“I love the songs that she sings,” she said. “Velma’s energy is just so much fun to convey.”

Chicago has been “a fun and different experience” for Scamuffo, who is the youngest member of Wilton Playshop’s Chicago cast.

“I have to admit, I was intimidated at first,” she said, “but everyone’s warm and welcoming personalities made me feel at home very quickly.”

Working with “extremely talented people with limited schedules,” said Pastore, has made finding the time to “deliver the material — songs, dialogue and choreography — in a very stylized way that the audience can appreciate” a bit challenging, but it was all worth it.

“The cast and crew and entire production team have worked so incredibly hard on the show,” he said. “Their talent is quite amazing. I think people will be very surprised.”

Scamuffo agreed and said the show has “awesome songs,” “fantastic choreography,” and a cast that is “incredible in every sense of the word.”

“The passion that exudes from all of my colleagues is inspiring. There is not one person in that cast that I’m not excited to see and work with every day,” said Scamuffo.

“This energy will definitely be experienced by the audiences as well. You will definitely remember this show.”

Pastore said he hopes for sold-out performances and that the cast receives “the applause they deserve for all their hard work.”

The show is recommended for audiences 13 years old and older.

Showtimes for Wilton Playshop’s production of Chicago are May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14 at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. showings on May 8 and 14.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and students, with $5 discounts on Thursdays. Click here to buy tickets.

The Wilton Playshop is at 15 Lovers Lane. Click here for more information.