‘Chicago’ is Simply Sensational

Brandy, Roz Ryan Bring Their A-Games

Denny Paschall, Brandy Norwood as "Roxie Hart" and Michael Scirrotto (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Daniel)

Just a few days remain for the Kennedy Center’s delightful production of the Broadway classic and multi-Tony Award winning musical, “Chicago.”

Most theater lovers have probably seen this show enough times to sing along with the cast, but if you haven’t seen Brandy in the role of that femme fatale Roxie Hart, then “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Brandy makes the role her own — embracing it in a way that other actresses can only dream. And for the record, the R&B singer known for her pitch perfect chops can also dance and act with similar aplomb.

But she doesn’t do it alone — not by a long shot.

She’s joined by another fan favorite Roz Ryan who brings new flavor in her portrayal of the women’s prison matron “Mama” Morton. In addition, Brent Barrett as the attorney known for making everyone beat the rap, Billy Flynn, is equally outstanding.

Understudy Lauren Gemelli filled in for Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly — and while she gave it her best, she simply didn’t have the polish to go toe-to-toe with Brandy as the duo sang and danced their way to the play’s climactic conclusion.

There are singers who should stay in their lane, remain faithful to their fans and avoid professional opportunities that illustrate their shortcomings. Fortunately, such is not the case with Brandy.

She’s gained many fans, I’m sure, after scoring big in conquering this challenging role. I, for one, can’t wait to see what she reveals next in her talent-filled bag of tricks.

It looks like the Kennedy Center has been stricken with the “Midas Touch” recently.

Isn’t it delightful?

‘Chicago’ continues through Sunday, April 16 at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House.


About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 165 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

You can reach me on Twitter (@dkevinmcneir), Facebook (Kevin McNeir) or via e-mail, mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com

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