Credit: Maggie Yates

Famed criminals Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly are in the Cook County jail, ready to manipulate their way to freedom in the classic musical Chicago at Santa Barbara High School (SBHS). This show is about the metaphorical song and dance of the corrupt criminal justice system in 1920s Chicago, told through jazzy tunes and delightfully unlovable protagonists.

A notable aspect of the SBHS production is the gender-blind casting of prison warden “Mama” Morton. Lucas Meisel, who plays the infamous jailkeeper, says that Morton is “on the right side of the law, but she’s always good for a favor as long as you keep the green rolling.” Morton is typically played by a female actress, so Meisel is bringing his own interpretation to the role. “I’m hoping that … playing such a coveted role will open the door for more gender-breaking roles and allow people of all genders to play whoever they want,” he says.

See Chicago April 8-9 and 14-16 at SBHS (700 E. Anapamu St.). Tickets are available at

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