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“Ladies and Gentleman, you are about to see a story about murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery—all the things we hold near and dear to our hearts.” The vaudevillian MC’s opening lines in Chicago set the tone for the tale that unfolds. The smash musical is based on a 1926 play by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, inspired by real events she covered.

The story, which takes place largely in Cook County women’s jail, revolves around Roxie Hart, a nightclub dancer with big aspirations who murders her lover, and the soft-shoeing of her shrewd lawyer, who turns her into Chicago’s biggest celebrity.

Created by John Kander and Fred Ebb (writers of Cabaret and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and choreographed by Bob Fosse, Chicago zings with the all the sass, sex and wit of prohibition Chicago, set to unforgettable music, and “jazz hands” and shimmies only Fosse could concoct.

Troika Entertainment Company’s national tour of Chicago brings all that jazz to the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany) tonight (Thursday, Jan. 10) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $24-$45. For more information or to make reservations, call 465-4663.

The Queers

What can we say about the Queers? Well for one thing, there have been, and still are, lots of them. In fact, there have been more than 20 different members of the Queers, including such interesting folks as former drummer Dave ‘Sexual Predator’ Trevino and current guitarist-vocalists, Dangerous Dave and Joe Queer. Originally formed in 1982 in New Hampshire, the Ramones-influenced punks enjoyed brief success before, in best early punk fashion, breaking up two years later. In 1990 they re-formed to bring back the Queeritude and have since recorded a number of albums including Beat Off.

Oh, and all of the current Queers are straight. Not that there’s anything special about that.

The Queers will attempt to rock your socks—and hopefully a few more things—off at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) tonight (Thursday, Jan. 10) at 8 PM. Also on the bill are Backseat Virgins, Kitty Little, Plastic Jesus and Sugar Eater. Tickets are $10. Call 432-6572 for more info.

The Reluctant Dragon

This brand-new adaptation of this well-loved story is set in a city very much like Albany. A dragon emerges—after, we presume, quite a long nap—from the basement of an apartment building. Does it want to breath fire, fight or lay waste to the neighborhood? No. This is a friendly dragon would prefer to “write poetry and discuss literature.”

Sounds like our kid of dragon; judging from the picture, he’s pretty suave looking, too. Naturally, some meddling folks want to start trouble, and call in the “St. George Pest Removal and Extermination Service.” Count us as rooting for the lit-minded dragon to find a peaceful solution.

The Reluctant Dragon opens tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 11) at 7 PM at Steamer No. 10 Theatre (500 Western Ave., Albany). There are additional performances Saturday (Jan. 12) at 3 PM and Sunday (Jan. 13) at 11 AM and 3 PM. There will be more performances between Jan. 21 and 30 at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre, and on Jan. 26 and 27 at the Saratoga Arts Center (Dee Sarno Theater, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $12 adults, $10 students and seniors. For show times and information, call 438-5503.

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