Spice it up for Mama! On October 21, Roz Ryan will break a longtime Chicago company record with the most performances of any leading actress in the show's historic 17-year run. As Matron "Mama" Morton, Ryan made her debut performance with the Broadway company in January 1999, and has returned to reprise the role in the Tony Award-winning revival every single year.
"I've had the thrill of celebrating many milestones and record-breakings with Chicago over the years, but this is an extra special one for me," Ryan said in a statement. "I am beyond grateful to Barry and Fran Weissler, to Walter Bobbie, to Annie Reinking and to the countless cast members, crew members and musicians with whom I've shared these past 15 years. And it's certainly not over, darlings—the best is yet to come!"
The longstanding record for the most performances played by a principal actress is currently shared by Charlotte d'Amboise (as Roxie Hart) and the late Marcia Lewis (who originated Matron "Mama" Morton in the revival), both of whom logged a total of 223 weeks in the Broadway company. Ryan will set the new record when she begins her 224th contracted week as Cook County Jail's tough matron.
Set in the 1920s, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover. Desperate to avoid conviction, she hires Billy Flynn, Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer, much to the dismay of her rival cellmate Velma Kelly. Chicago continues its run at the Ambassador Theatre and features Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Ryan Silverman as Billy Flynn, Paul C. Vogt as Amos Hart and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.