Letter: Chicago play's message is still relevant and it doesn't endorse murder
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to email@example.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
I’m not a teenager or a parent. As an outsider looking in, I do have a few points to make about the Chicago play.
First, we should all support the existence of extracurricular activities because bored teenagers tend to get into trouble with drugs, sex and violence.
Second, no one is forcing anyone to go see the Chicago play and criticism of art is something that happens in a free society with some frequency. I would only ask that the critics appreciate that these are teenagers, not Broadway performers and that it takes a lot of time and energy to put on a play. If teenagers are busy putting together plays, even way off-Broadway productions, they are probably less likely to find time to get into trouble.
Last, the play's glitz, glamour and kitsch aren't the point. Nor does the play endorse murder. Chicago argues that the great American ideal of equal justice does not apply to all people.
The play features a jailhouse full of women killers, and one innocent woman. She is innocent but is executed by the state because she is a plain lady, a poor foreigner who struggles to speak English and thus cannot market herself as a celebrity and afford the necessary legal counsel.
Remember that the original performance of Chicago was in the 1920s. This was a society that had just recently given women the right to vote, was obsessed with lady killers, lynchings were tolerated and the popular music, blues, and jazz, was predominately the work of the oppressed namely, African American, Jewish and LGBTQ artists.
Has lady justice changed since the 1920s? Yes, tremendous progress has been made in terms of applying the ideal to all people. Yet the play's message was relevant in the 1970s, when the musical version was first performed and it remains relevant to this day.
Edward TJ Brown
Parkers Prairie MN