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Theater

January 1997

Death by subtext

by Mark Steyn

On Chicago, Present Laughter & The Rehearsal

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”:


… ’cos you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there.

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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Mark Steyn’s most recent book is America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (Regnery).


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 15 January 1997, on page 36

Copyright © 2015 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

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