Although it has been running since November 14, 1996, the Broadway revival of Chicago is doing razzle-dazzle business at the box office. According to statistics in Variety, during the week ending March 30 -- the most recent week for which figures are currently available -- Chicago was playing at 100.60% of its seating capacity, taking in $523,970 out of a potential $687,460. (That discrepancy is due to the availability of discount tickets.)

What accounts for the remarkable popularity of this six-and-a-half-year-old revival of a 28-year-old musical, when more recent, critically acclaimed hits such as La Bohème, Movin' Out, and The Producers are respectively playing at 60.3%, 72.8%, and 85.6% of capacity? No doubt it is due in large part to the phenomenal success of the film version of Chicago, which won six Academy Awards including the coveted Best Picture prize last month and which has placed at or near the top of the box-office heap ever since it was released in December. According to Pete Sanders, publicist of the Broadway production, "The show has consistently been a good sell but we think that the film version has definitely spiked up the box office, as people want to see the live show after seeing the film or want to revisit it."

Also important to consider is the musical's January move from the Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street to the Ambassador on West 49th. In its last weeks at the 1,460-seat Shubert, Chicago consistently played at around 80% capacity, hitting a low but still respectable 71.90% during the week of December 9-15. With the exception of its first week (January 27-February 2) at the 1,080-seat Ambassador, it has played in the mid-90s there; its lowest percentage, 94.40%, was during the week of February 3-9.

Directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking, the show currently stars Belle Callaway as Roxie Hart, Brenda Braxton as Velma, Clarke Peters as Billy Flynn, P.J. Benjamin as Amos Hart, and D. Sabella as Mary Sunshine.