Del Mar resident stars in San Diego Musical Theater’s ‘Chicago’

By Rob LeDonne

“Chicago,” the world-famous Bob Fosse musical known for a long run on Broadway and a 2002 Oscar-winning film, is coming to San Diego’s Birch North Park theater thanks to the award-winning San Diego Musical Theatre company, and all involved — from the production’s producers to actors — couldn’t be more excited.

Emma Radwick, who plays the lead role of Roxie Hart, is a Del Mar-based actress who has roots in Australia. “My dad is English and my mom is Aussie. I was always involved in the arts, mainly because my dad has a really good appreciation for it,” she explained by phone in the midst of a hectic rehearsal schedule. “I first saw ‘Chicago’ about 12 years ago on the West End in London and fell in love. I always wanted to play this character.”

Radwick moved to Del Mar from Australia with her husband, who happens to be a native of Michigan.”I met my husband while I was singing in a band in China. We fell in love and had an international relationship. When we first came to Del Mar, we were living temporarily with his brother. We love everything about the area; Del Mar is a great community.” When the opportunity arose to audition for the part of Roxie, Radwick jumped at the chance. “A lot of emotions are running through my mind; it’s a dream come true to be able to perform musical theater in my home city. My parents are flying in from Australia, so it’s definitely a big deal.”

Ron Kellum, the director of “Chicago,” agrees with that sentiment and adds that the grueling rehearsal process is “going great! This cast is absolutely amazing and thrilling to watch. Audiences are in for a special treat; I’m honored to work with such a fantastic team on all fronts.” Kellum should know; so far he’s built up an impressive resume working on the Broadway productions and national tours of “Chicago,” as well as “Dreamgirls,” “Aida,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and directed productions of “A Chorus Line” and “The Color Purple.” In addition, he also choreographed a sequence in the smash hit 2010 film “Iron Man 2” with Robert Downey Jr.

With all of his experience, Kellum has a lot of faith in his leading lady. “Emma is perfect as Roxie; she’s vulnerable, brave and you just can’t take your eyes off of her. I love finding new talent and watching them grow every single day.”

Hiring seasoned pros like Radwick and Kellum is all part of the plan explains Rancho Santa Fe resident Erin Lewis, who with her husband Gary, is producing the show. “We are very proud of our productions; audiences should expect a professional, quality production in a beautiful theatre at affordable prices,” says Erin. “We hire the best talent possible, from local talent to some who have been on Broadway.”

Another special aspect of “Chicago” and San Diego Musical Theatre is that “we are an all volunteer organization, there are no executive or staff salaries,” Erin said. “Since ticket sales alone only cover 50 percent to 60 percent of production costs, we are always looking for people who love musical theatre as much as we do and who would like to support the arts by donating to help us offset costs.”

Overall the cast and crew of “Chicago” will be ready when the curtains open on Feb. 15 for a preview show, and Feb. 16 for the official premiere. Summed up Radwick: “I’ll have a lot of adrenaline, but I’m definitely nervous. I think it’s nervous excitement.”

For more information on the SDMT’s production of “Chicago,” a full schedule, and to purchase tickets, visit

, like them on Facebook by searching for San Diego Musical Theatre, or follow them on Twitter: @sdmtmusicals.