In the music spotlight: Chicago

Culture | Chicago's music portrays a dim view of mankind's capacity to maintain divinely ordained institutions

Issue: "Portable Pentagon," March 1, 2003

One thing those curious about the cinematic version of the hit musical Chicago should know is that despite the more-than-adequate singing of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere, better singing by less-famous performers exists on the soundtracks of the musical's various stage productions. Furthermore, the latter come unburdened by the film's political correctness (a black prison matron in 1920s Chicago?) and its soundtrack's addenda ("Cell Block Tango" as a hip-hop anti-wife-beating PSA, incidental music by Danny Elfman, pointless pop song by Anastacia).

Those curious about Chicago's message should know that the lyrics cleverly articulate an extremely dim view of man's capacity to maintain such divinely ordained institutions as marriage and organized jurisprudence. On all but the best of days, it's a cynicism that seems as well suited to the present as to the days of Al Capone (the musical's setting), Watergate (after which it was first staged), or the O.J. trial (after which it was revived).

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…