Entertainment » Theatre

Razzle Dazzle: Michelle Alves Takes on Velma Kelly in 'Chicago'

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Aug 9, 2018

Broadway veteran Michelle Alves is starring as Velma Kelly in "Chicago" at Theatre by the Sea.

The hit musical takes place in the 1920s and features a score by famed composers Kander and Ebb. "Chicago" is the story of Roxie Hart (played by Jessica Wockenfuss in this production), a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her lover. Desperate to avoid conviction, she tricks the public, the media and her cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer Billy Flynn to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.

Velma is "a very powerful woman," Alves told EDGE. "As an actor, as a dancer, as a singer, this is one of the best roles ever written."

Alves has not allowed other portrayals of Velma to influence how she played the character.

"Whenever I book a (show), I stop watching movies, or shows, or YouTube because I don't want to copy any of those beautiful and amazing leading ladies. I want to bring my own (interpretation) to the stage and make it unique," Alves said.

"I've always been in love with musical theater," Alves continued. "I started dancing professionally when I was 16. I did my first musical when I was 19 and from there the rest is history. I've been pretty blessed at doing different shows."

The Puerto Rico native moved to New York City and has appeared in "On Your Feet," "Rent," "Hair," "Nine," and "Hairspray."

Alves' favorite role was Anita in "West Side Story."

"I've done that show eight times and I will never get tired of it," Alves said. "I will play (Anita) a thousand times more if its possible. That is the role that changed my life. Every time I play her, it's still a dream role for me."

Alves is excited to work with director Bob Richard and choreographer Diane Laurenson, who previously worked on "Beauty and the Beast" and "West Side Story" at Theatre by the Sea.

"It's been such a gratifying experience," Alves added.

"Chicago" will be presented from August 15 - September 9. Theatre by the Sea, 364 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield. For tickets, go to www.theatrebythesea.com or call (866) 811-4111 or (401) 782-TKTS (8587).

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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