By Andrew Duff

For anyone who has wanted to see a Broadway musical but never had the time or money to go, “Chicago” offers an excellent substitute.

Filled with catchy show tunes, confident actors and mesmerizing dance numbers, “Chicago” brings the musical, and a far-removed city in the Jazz Age, to life.

All Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) wanted was to be a singer, like her hero Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), but after Hart picks the wrong connections, she shoots her lover and ends up on Murderesses Row.

Hart meets up with Kelly, who’s been jailed for murdering her cheating husband and sister. Kelly manages to destroy Hart’s dreams of the stage and convinces her that she’s going to hang.

Lucky for Hart, she snags Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), Chicago’s best lawyer, who immediately portrays her as a sinful, but sorry, country girl. Propelled to fame, she leaves Kelly in the dust, and they both fight to retain the image of Chicago’s newest bad girl.

Song numbers are fantastic, with the vast majority sticking with you well after the movie’s ended. Kelly’s rendition of “All That Jazz,” fresh from her double murder, with a full cast of dancers and singers, is especially full of energy. Hart even imagines that she’s on stage singing, too.

“Mr. Cellophane,” preformed by Hart’s jaded husband Amos, is simplistic and well done, making use of clever lighting and showing another dimension to what was initially a flat character.

But perhaps the most entertaining scene was Flynn, when presented with a sudden piece of evidence against Hart, breaks out into a quick-talking, tap-dancing number that saves his client and leaves the audience clapping.

Best of all, the plot leaves you guessing until the very last scene, with plenty of plot twists and surprises along the way, like when Hart vies for attention by announcing that she’s pregnant. This is much to the chagrin of her clueless husband, who knows he isn’t the father. If you’re a fan of musicals, then “Chicago” doesn’t disappoint. Or heck, if you’re a fan of great movies, “Chicago” is a toe-tapping good time.