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The musical that dazzles us in Chicago


The Broadway-aimed Chicago world premiere of Death Becomes Her has been given new life at the Cadillac Palace Theatre and it was something you could “die for”.

Death Becomes Her is a 1992 movie that follows Madeline Ashton a famous actress whose career is fading and Helen Sharp a novelist who is (well was) engaged to the love of her life Ernest Menville until Ashton steals him away. They’ve always been the “best of friends” and rivals each other but both of their worlds turn upside down when they meet a mysterious woman named Lisle Von Rhuman (Viola Van Horn in the musical) who has “a secret you could die for”. The movie starred Meryl Streep as Maddeline Ashton, Goldie Hawn as Helen Sharp, Bruce Willis as Ernest Menville and Isabella Rossellini as Lisle Von Rhuman.

This musical has been in the works since 2017 where originally Kristen Chenowith was to star in the musical. The current cast for the musical stars Megan Hilty as Maddeline Ashton, Jennifer Simard as Helen Sharp, Christopher Sieber as Ernest Menville, and Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams as Viola Van Horn. The musical was written by Marco Pennette, music and lyrics are by Julia Mattison & Noel Carey, with direction by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli.

This musical is by far one of the best things I’ve seen on Broadway in Chicago in a while. This musical filled the audience with laughter what every joke and whitey come back from each character. The sets of the show were absolutely mesmerizing and lived up to the identical house in the 1992 film. The first act of the show had very big song numbers and amazing practical effects. But where there’s a high there’s also a low. The second act starts on an amazing note but once we return to the lair of Viola Van Horn it becomes slow and you start to feel the weight of the show. The second act almost drags and the ending (changed from the movie version) feels a little underwhelming but they give us some good jokes before they officially close out the show.

Megan Hilty gives us a brilliant performance as Madeline; she wows the crowd instantaneously with her singing, acting, and her overall stage presence. Jennifer Simard gives us a complete 180 performance from the movie turning Helen from a somewhat bland character to a comedic genius. Christopher Siber’s performance as Ernest was absolutely joyous to watch him take an almost whiney character to someone with layers and keeping him alive at the end of the show was a very wise decision. Michelle William gives us a good performance of Viola but her character almost feels misplaced. When she opens the show we’re given a taste of her character but as the show progresses we’re ot given much background with her character, the musical almost forces you to watch the movie to know who her character is.

Overall the musical comedy was an absolute thrill to watch. This show did not fail to make us smile, and laugh. This musical gives us life and definitely something to watch out for as it enters NYC for its Broadway run. I highly recommend seeing this show; the musical is now playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through June 2, 2024 so don’t miss the musical that Chicago is raving about.

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About the Contributor
Eliza Monté Gilbert
Eliza Monté Gilbert, Staff Writer
Hello! I'm Eliza, a senior who is passionate about Theatre. In addition to being a theatre geek, I also have a strong love for writing and storytelling. I'm thrilled to join the Newspaper team this year, surrounded by fellow journalists who share my interests. After graduation, I intend to pursue my passion for theatre, whether it's in college or on a larger platform. Catch me on the stage or the big screen!

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