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Pictou Rotary staging musical this weekend at deCoste

Billy Flynn (Jim Proudfoot) sings All I Care About.
Billy Flynn (Jim Proudfoot) sings All I Care About.

They had it comin’.

That classic lyric from the Cell Block Tango – the justification from the murderesses on why their slain lovers deserved what they got – will be just one recognizable line being sung or spoken on the deCoste Centre stage this weekend.

A cast of 29 community members, as well as local musicians in the orchestra and many more behind-the-scenes volunteers, will bring Chicago to Pictou for the annual Rotary Club play.

“This show is so much more than just a show,” said Sally O’Neill, who plays Roxie Hart and has been involved with the local production for seven years.

She notes while it’s a fundraiser for the club, allowing the organization to do “good work both here and abroad,” it has also developed into an anticipated community event.

“You get to see all your neighbours, people you do business and work with in a completely different light – the spotlight.”

Sally O'Neill, cast as Roxie Hart, and Jim Proudfoot, as Billy Flynn, are shown during We Both Reached For The Gun.

Amanda Hill, who is also locked up in the Cook County Jail as Velma Kelly and has enlisted the help of lawyer Billy Flynn (Jim Proudfoot), echoed O’Neill as she said it’s fun to see people you know from the community in these roles.

“We look forward to these shows every year, but Chicago, I think, will be something special.”

Often cast in “happier roles,” Hill said this experience has been outside of her comfort zone.

“It’s certainly been a really fun challenge to get to play Velma because she’s much more of a vixen than what I’m used to. But it’s been such a pleasure to get to play this character. It’s a dream role.”

Stepping into new roles hasn’t been the only challenge for the cast.

Director Don Hill notes each musical has its own hurdles, adding some of the productions the Rotary Club has picked, including Chicago, are dance-heavy.

Some of the cast, including Amanda Hill as Velma Kelly at the front, is pictured during a recent rehearsal. Amanda noted Kat Hill, who designed their costumes, has been a huge addition for the production.

Amanda noted their choreographer Katy Hampton has been key to turning them into dancers.

It’s also a quick-moving show, Don said, leading them to create a set that doesn’t have to move a lot.

In response to why they chose Chicago, Hill noted its popularity, impressive run on Broadway ­– the longest-running American-written musical – and the award-winning movie adaption.

It also fits with their goal of accommodating the cast that returns each year.

“I’m looking for something that can accommodate larger ensemble pieces so we can have fun with a whole bunch of people instead of less.”

They’ve been rehearsing several times a week since January and are just about ready to show off their hard work to the public.

The show runs March 30, 31 and April 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30.

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