A new type of theater has arrived in Tbilisi, and it hit the ground running with its debut on September 20 and 21, – the newly acquired adaptation of the musical ‘Chicago.’
‘Chicago’ is an award-winning American musical that has consistently been reenacted since it first appeared on stage in 1975. Set in the 1920s, the musical focuses on murder, crime, and jazz. ‘Theatre,’ a performance and events venue in Tbilisi, is hosting the adaptation of the musical.
Tea Kipshidze, author and screenwriter of the Georgian adaptation of Chicago, says even though the show is based in the 1920s, it still has relevance to today’s world.
“Chicago serves as a sharp satire, reflecting the culture of its era – corruption, crime, sensationalist media, and ‘blood,’” Kipshidze wrote on Theatre’s website. “Simultaneously, it tells the story of women during the rise of jazz and the reevaluation of gender roles. Thus, Chicago isn’t just a show leaving an indelible impression; it’s also a window into the 1920s, offering parallels with the present day.”
The musical has been such a hit over the years, both for the pizazz it embodies of its generation, but also since the production is based on real facts and characters. Chicago tells the story of a play written in 1926 by a crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune who covered trails around the city. Two of her trials included Belva Gartner, a woman accused of murdering her husband and sister, and Beulah Annan, who was accused of murdering her lover.
The licensing for the musical was secured by the Tsiskvili Group, from the theater company Concord Theatricals. The presentation and sponsorship of the show comes from Archi, a leading development company in Georgia. Originally Archi was only going to be a back-seat spectator of the Tsiskvili Group project, yet, once they heard Chicago was going to be one of the shows on the lineup, they decided to become presenters too.
Theatre is a space where you can experience a classic cabaret, see an American musical, enjoy opera and ballet performances, attend a concert, or listen to the works of modern artists
Archi’s General Director Shio Khetsuriani says he believes this musical will create long-lasting memories for everyone who comes to watch it.
“At Archi, we welcome, and support new projects created in the country, whether in culture, sports, or any other field. Therefore, when we learned that the theater was planning to stage the world-famous and well-loved musical Chicago, we decided to join this project as a presenter,” Khetsuriani said on the Theatre website. “We are confident that the show will leave unforgettable impressions on both Georgian and foreign attendees, contributing to the future promotion of this cultural direction. We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Theatre and be co-participants in yet another innovative and successful project.”
Theatre, the venue itself, is a relatively new idea, because it is not a traditional venue used for watching plays. Instead, it is used for a variety of forms of entertainment, adapting as necessary to the event taking place.
“It is a space where you can experience a classic cabaret, see an American musical, enjoy opera and ballet performances, attend a concert, or listen to the works of modern artists,” the Theatre website claims.
“Tourists can also discover Georgian cultural attractions accompanied by gastronomy. In a word, it is a space that offers creative freedom to create the environment you want.”
With Theatre’s new exploration of entertainment, the audience not only pays to experience a show, but they’re given a three-course meal tailored to the theme of the performance they’re watching. The new venture is called ‘Cabaret Nights.’ Cabaret is a form of entertainment new to Georgia, stringing together music, dance, song, and acting.
Four nights a week from Thursday to Sunday there will be a different cabaret performance to experience, each of them paired with a unique dinner menu. There will be shows with artists, singers, dancers, illusionists and more. Everything from jazz to dance performances to musicals such as Moulin Rouge and choreography from French, Spanish, and Indian styles will be present.
All the dinner menus for Cabaret Nights are perfectly crafted by Alex Natadze, the Tsiskvili Group chef.
“We are establishing cabaret-style spaces in numerous countries, and, while it’s not entirely new, the cabaret entertainment genre in Georgia is taking flight with the Tsiskvili Group’s Theatre,” Tsiskvili Group’s Head of Marketing Anano Tavkhelidze writes on the Theatre website. “Guests can freely choose their desired dishes, whether on-site, or through advance bookings, similar to our restaurant setup.”
Artistic Director of the theater Zaal Chikobava said Theatre is consistently changing and trying out new ideas. The business values feedback from its guests and with the new cabaret days, no two shows will be alike. Each week will be full of unique experiences and a celebration no one will want to miss.
For the Chicago showing there will be two menus, regular and vegan, which can be selected in advance or upon arrival at the event. Depending on which menu is chosen, it includes bread, a smoked pepper appetizer, beef ribs or fried polenta with mushroom fricassee, and a custom-tailored dessert.
There are only a few showings of Chicago; the next performance will be held on Oct. 6.