Christophe Caballero has been entertaining audiences since he was ten years old. The actor with four Tony winning Broadway Musicals on his resume is currently enjoying his eighth stint in the Musical Chicago which lands at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall April 3rd and 4th.
I caught up with the talented “triple threat” on the road to talk about his path to the stage and his current gig touring the world in Broadway’s second longest running musical.
His story begins with his father meeting his French mother while serving the US Air Force stationed in France. Born in Abilene the family moved soon after his birth, the first of many moves they would make in military service. With the early days of his childhood spent in Germany, France, & Long Island Christophe is no stranger to making his home where he is. “I have moved all my life which is probably why I am pretty ok with traveling and touring around for so many years of my life.”
By the time he was ten years old the family landed in Idaho. “What is funny and It would probably surprise some people but I had the best childhood, the best education the best exposure to so much in Idaho.” This is where he would really find his love of performing. “It is where I started playing violin, started performing. At ten I was Oliver in the school musical. At fourteen I started dancing, all while in Idaho.”
Growing up just outside of Boise Caballero points out the impact the arts programs had on him and his future. “They had a really great well rounded and I have to say well-funded arts program.” He excelled at the violin and the thought was that he would grow to be a professional violinist, but then came dance.
“When I started dancing it was like a revelation. I knew that is what I wanted to do above all else.” His high school years were spent perfecting his craft with Ballet West (the subject of the reality show Breaking Pointe) and the Willam Christensen Academy.
Letting no grass grow under his feet, he headed for the Big Apple immediately after graduating. “I moved to New York City fresh out of high school I had scholarships to the Joffrey Summer Program, I was very classical, and after several years and being in American Ballet Theater Two and some other companies I got a contract with Fame the TV show.”
Working with Debbie Allen every week was just the beginning as the show boasted incredible guest stars weekly. “That was amazing. Every week and a half we were doing new styles of dance, I worked with Carol Burnett, I worked with BeBe Neuwirth, all these stars would guest and it was like an amazing three year University program.”
While in Fame Christophe attended the LA audition for Jerome Robbins Broadway an anthology of musical numbers from shows that were directed or choreographed by Robbins. This was only the first of four tony award winning shows that he would perform in on Broadway. Not wanting to get stuck in a Broadway rut he has at times opted to take roles in other countries spending extended periods in Vienna and Tokyo.
Currently touring with Chicago the musical he finds a charm in touring with a cast that you don’t necessarily find when working on Broadway. “Being on the road brings you closer to people than working nine to five where you might catch lunch with someone. When you’re on the road you really get to know people a lot better. You grow closer when you’re sitting on a bus for four hours or sitting on a plane.”
Chicago is a satire of corruption in the criminal justice system as well as a look at our fascination with the “Celebrity Criminal” think George Zimmerman. Interestingly Chicago is based on a play by Maurine Watkins who in 1924 covered the trials of Beulah Annan and Belca Gaetner for the Chicago Tribune. After a series of acquittals of women who were tried for killing men it became generally believed that in Chicago a woman could not be convicted for murder. This belief and the subsequent celebrity of these women was the basis for Watkins play that in 1969 was sold to Bob Fosse who created what we now know as Chicago. Art does imitate life and we love it, Chicago is the second longest running Broadway Show in history.
Chicago’s roots in Vaudeville are one of the things Christophe thinks gives the show such legs. “It’s very Vaudevillian. It’s all these acts one after another. Every new act that is introduced you might as well have a girl on the side holding up a card.”
Christophe likens our fascination with Chicago’s Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart to that of Todays interest in Robert Durst. “Why is it so big? Look at Durst. Look at Jody Arias she shot her boyfriend, stabbed him in the shower over and over. Look how she changed. She is selling t-shirts. Total Roxie. It’s very relatable.”
It is very relatable. The timeless music. The brilliant Bob Fosse choreography and the fact that we all love to obsess over other people’s lives when they are a train wreck. Somehow it makes us feel better that others’ lives are a mess. Maybe it helps us realize our lives aren’t that bad. Whatever it is Chicago is the musical that will never get stale.
Chicago the Musical plays for three performances only at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall, April 3rd & 4th. The show also features Roz Ryan as Matron “Mama” Morton. Ryan has played in more performances of Chicago than any other actress in the show’s 18 year run. Ryan is perfection as Mama and I would go just to see her. Tickets are $49.50-$132.00 and available at http://www.basshall.com/ While there check out the other offering at Bass. Later this month an intimate evening with Betty Buckley, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella in June and if you missed it in Dallas or just want to see it again Coming in October the incredible Cyndi Lauper Scored Kinky Boots.
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