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Death by subtext
by Mark Steyn
On Chicago, Present Laughter & The Rehearsal
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Here’s a postscript to last month’s review of Chicago—or anyway something that’s been bothering me. In Bob Fosse’s justice-as-vaudeville, everyone’s a sleazy, chiselin’ lowlife: Roxie, the merry murderess; Velma, her cellmate; Billy Flynn, their shameless attorney; the prison matron … The one exception, the only nice guy in sight, is Roxie’s innocent dupe of a husband, Amos —or, as Flynn absentmindedly keeps calling him, “Andy.” Amos has only one song, a pastiche of Bert Williams’s “Nobody” called “Mister Cellophane”:
At the end, when Amos asks for his exit music, the conductor doesn’t hear, and so he trudges off unacco ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 15 January 1997, on page 36
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