We have told you about the nearly all of Real Gone’s titles for this July, including Second Disc Records’ compilation of Bobby Darin’s unreleased Motown recordings. Now, Real Gone has just announced the final reissue on their July slate: the first-ever vinyl reissue of the original soundtrack to 2002’s Academy Award-winning musical Chicago, due July 13.
The musical Chicago originally opened on Broadway on June 3, 1975 and is based upon the 1926 play of the same name written by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins. It revolves around Roxie Hart, on trial for murdering her lover in Prohibition-era Chicago. The piece highlights the corruption and sensationalism in the criminal justice at the time. During the course of the story, we meet Velma Kelly (also on trial for murder and incarcerated at the same jail as Roxie), “Mama” Morton (the matron at the jail), Billy Flynn (Roxie and Velma’s attorney), Amos (Roxie’s husband), and Mary Sunshine (a journalist). The score was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the musical theater luminaries who had great success in 1966 with Cabaret. The book was written by Ebb with another Broadway legend, Bob Fosse. Fosse also directed and choreographed the production. The original cast included Gwen Verdon as Roxie, Chita Rivera as Velma, Mary McCarty as “Mama,” Jerry Orbach as Billy, and Barney Martin as Amos. It was nominated for several Tony Awards, but won none of them. The production closed on August 27, 1977 after 936 performances.
Chicago had several international productions, including a West End run in 1979, but it truly reentered the public’s consciousness nearly two decades later. The show was presented in concert form for New York City Center’s Encores! series in May, 1996. This version was directed by Walter Bobbie and starred Ann Reinking as Roxie, Bebe Neuwirth as Velma, Marcia Lewis as “Mama,” James Naughton as Billy, and Joel Grey as Amos. The concert was so successful that it transferred to Broadway and opened on November 14, 1996. In a rare instance, the revival became much more successful than the original. Perhaps because of other sensational real-life trials in the 1990s like the OJ Simpson and the Menendez Brothers trials, Chicago became a smash with audiences. It won six Tonys including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Lighting Design, Best Choreography (Reinking), Best Performance by A Leading Actor in a Musical (Naughton), and Best Lead Performance by A Leading Actress in a Musical (Neuwirth). Its cast album, released in 1997 on RCA Victor, took home the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 1998. The revival is still running today and passed Cats to become the second-longest running show in Broadway history in 2014 (behind The Phantom of the Opera). The show has also received many U.S. tours and international productions including a return to the West End in 1997, where it ran until 2012. It’s currently back in the West End again today.
With all of this success, it wasn’t too long before Hollywood turned the musical into a movie. (Several attempts over the years had proven abortive.) Released in December, 2002 by Miramax, the film was directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay was written by Bill Condon. Danny Elfman wrote the brief instrumental score for the film and Kander and Ebb returned to pen a new song: “I Move On.” The movie starred Renée Zellweger as Roxie, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma, Queen Latifah as “Mama,” Richard Gere as Billy, John C. Reilly as Amos, and Christine Baranski as Mary Sunshine. The film would also prove to be a hit. Despite not hitting No. 1 at the box office, it grossed over $170 million in the U.S. and over $306 million worldwide, the highest total for a live-action musical until the adaptation of Mamma Mia! In 2008. Chicago would win six Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Zeta-Jones and Best Picture for the movie itself. It was the first musical to win Best Picture since 1968’s Oliver!.
The Original Soundtrack album was released on November 19, 2002 on Epic Records, around three weeks before the film’s debut. In addition to the songs from the film, the album’s 18 tracks included two score cues from Elfman and some material not in the movie. Among these numbers are the droll duet “Class,” which was cut, a version of “Cell Block Tango” performed by Queen Latifah and featuring Lil’ Kim and Macy Gray, and the song “Love is a Crime,” written by Greg Lawson, Denise Rich, Damon Sharpe and Rick Wake and performed by Anastacia. “Love is a Crime” was released as the only single from the album and hit #1 on the U.S. Club Play Chart. The album itself was a success, selling over two million copies and hitting #2 on the Billboard 200. Like the cast album of the revival, the soundtrack also took home a Grammy, this time for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media at the 2004 ceremony.
Real Gone’s new vinyl reissue is presented on 2 LPs in black and gold. The gatefold package features credits and stills from the film. It is limited to 1,500 copies.
If you would like to add the soundtrack to Chicago to your vinyl collection, we’ve got the full tracklisting and preorder links below…and all that jazz.
Various Artists, Chicago: Music from the Miramax Motion Picture (Limited 2-LP Black and Gold Vinyl Edition) (Originally released on Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax CD EK 87018, 2002 – reissued Real Gone Music, 2018) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Overture/And All That Jazz
- Funny Honey
- When You’re Good To Mama
- Cell Block Tango
- All I Care About
- We Both Reached For The Gun
- I Can’t Do It Alone
- Mister Cellophane
- Razzle Dazzle
- Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag
- I Move On
- After Midnight – Danny Elfman
- Roxie’s Suite – Danny Elfman
- Cell Block Tango – Queen Latifah feat. Lil’ Kim and Macy Gray
- Love Is a Crime – Anastacia