From ‘Saigon’ to ‘Chicago’: Red Concepcion to make Broadway debut today

From ‘Saigon’ to ‘Chicago’: Red Concepcion to make Broadway debut today

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:35 AM January 15, 2024

Red Concepcion as The Engineer in “Miss Saigon” —JOHAN PERSSON

Red Concepcion as The Engineer in “Miss Saigon” (JOHAN PERSSON)

It’s the sort of news that had us grooving to Velma Kelly’s “Cell Block Tango.” And why not, it’s about homegrown Filipino theater star Red Concepcion’s latest feat.

The actor, acclaimed for his show-stopping idiosyncratic take on The Engineer on the “Miss Saigon” US National, UK, and Ireland Tours, is set to make his splashy debut today on the Great White Way — and not just for any musical.


Red will play Roxie Hart’s docile but devoted husband Amos (portrayed by Oscar nominee John C. Reilly in the 2002 Oscar best picture adaptation) in Kander and Ebb’s hit production “Chicago,” now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It is the second longest-running show ever to run on Broadway, just behind “The Phantom of the Opera.”


“It feels so surreal!” quipped Red when we asked him last Friday morning (Thursday night in New York) how he felt about finally making his Broadway bow with such razzle-dazzle. He will sing the popular showtune “Mr. Cellophane” in the show.

Our very quick chat took place during Red’s break at rehearsals after his scenes in Act One.

He mused, “I mean, one dreams about something like this happening, and it seems so impossible. But everything happens all at once … it’s almost dizzying! I’m trying to focus on the work for now, and I think I’ll allow myself to fully realize how huge this is once my run is over.”

Impressive milestone

Red, who is singer-actor Sam Concepcion’s brother, is joining “Chicago’s” current cast members Charlotte d’Amboise (as Roxie Hart), Kimberly Marable (as Velma Kelly), Max von Essen (as Billy Flynn), Lili Thomas (as Matron “Mama” Morton) and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine during his limited run as Amos, from Jan. 15 (today) till March 24, in the Tony-winning production currently running at the Ambassador Theatre. The official announcement of Red’s stint on “Chicago” first came out over the weekend.

As if Red’s latest milestone isn’t impressive enough, he is the first Filipino to essay the role on Broadway!

With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, lyrics by Ebb and music by John Kander, “Chicago” is set amid the decadence of the roaring and “razzle-dazzling” 1920s as it follows the story of Roxie, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her.


Desperate to avoid conviction, Roxie tests the gullibility of the impressionable public, the scandal-crazy media and her clever cellmate rival Velma with the help of Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer, Billy Flynn. Together, they conspire to transform Roxie’s malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids—and on TikTok!

The 2002 film version, which explores the themes of celebrity, scandal and corruption and starred Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, was the first movie musical to win best picture at the Oscars since “Oliver!” in 1968.

We acted with Red in “Basilia ng Malolos,” a modern sarswela about Basilia Tantoco staged by Dulaang UP in 2007, then directed him in New Voice’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” the same year. So we knew that his gorgeous voice, knack for comedy and great work ethic would take him places.


In 2014, he won the Aliw Award for best actor in a musical and the Gawad Buhay Award for outstanding male actor in a musical for his star turn as Adam/Felicia in the Manila production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”

What does Red remember about watching “Chicago” and listening to its showtunes for the first time?

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“I first saw the Australian touring production when it came to Solaire several years ago (in 2014),” he said. “I remember being in such awe at the dancing. And that score is just timeless! I’m just gobsmacked that I’ve been given the chance to be a part of it!”

TAGS: Entertainment, Red Concepcion

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