Red Concepcion makes his Broadway debut in 'Chicago' 2
Red Concepcion goes from 'Saigon' to 'Chicago' and lands on Broadway. Photo from Concepcion's Instagram page 

Red Concepcion makes his Broadway debut in 'Chicago'

In this interview, Filipino theater artist Red Concepcion shares how he bagged the role of Amos Hart in the Broadway production of the long-running musical 'Chicago.'
Leah C. Salterio | Jan 15 2024

After playing The Engineer in the UK, Ireland and US national tours of “Miss Saigon,” Filipino theater artist Red Concepcion is ready to conquer Broadway. 

Starting January 15, Concepcion is making his Broadway debut in the Tony Award winning and record breaking hit musical, “Chicago,” currently the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

Concepcion is undoubtedly ecstatic for “Chicago,” where he will play Amos Hart, the push-over husband of Roxie Hart. The musical goes onstage at the Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street) in New York.

“Amos is really the only person in the show who’s not out to get something for himself, basically the only real light in a sea of actually terrible people,” Concepcion described his role.

“So I guess the challenge is how does one cut through all the glitzy, gilded darkness in a handful of scenes and one song?”

Days before he makes his salvo on the Broadway stage, Concepcion had been getting the jitters, admittedly.

“But it’s been a whirlwind of rehearsals, there’s really no time to dwell on that.,” he maintained. “Just go in and get the job done.”

Set amidst the glitzy decadence of the 1920s, “Chicago” is the colorful story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer.

The musical won six Tony Awards in 1997, including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

Concepcion went through what is called an EPA (Equity Principal Auditions), basically an open call in Broadway for “Chicago.”

“I almost didn’t go to that particular audition,” he revealed. “I had just moved to New York from LA a couple of months before, and I was feeling really down and anxious about whether or not I made the right decision to move. So I was like, well what if I just sit this one out? But I dragged myself out of my bed to go, and I’m so glad I did!”

In “Chicago,” Concepcion takes over from James T. Lane, who will conclude his Amos Hart role on January 14.

Moving from the UK to the US was not totally a breeze initially for Concepcion. “I was on the UK and Ireland tour of ‘Miss Saigon’ playing The Engineer,” Concepcion recalled. “I got a call from one of the producers, Thomas Schönberg, while we were in Bristol, telling me that they were getting the US tour together, and if I would I be interested in playing the same role in the States? I played it coy for a bit but, of course, I said yes.”

Even if he did, Concepcion was feeling down and anxious about whether or not he made the right decision to move. But he gave the US a try and now nailed a role on Broadway.

Since he started theater acting back in Manila two decades ago, Concepcion has been recognized and lauded for his performances.

In “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” where he played Adam/Felicia in the Manila and Singapore run, he won the Aliw Award best actor and Gawad Buhay Outstanding Male Actor in a Musical.

Concepcion also merited critical acclaim when he played Alan Strang in “Equus,” and Tammy in “The Normal Heart.” 

“My first professional show was a production of ‘Honk! The Ugly Duckling’ at the Meralco Theater in 2003. A lifetime ago,” Concepcion recalled. “I’ve done quite well for myself since 2003.”

In the future, Concepcion wants to play Sweeney Todd in the musical of the same title, without a doubt.

Acting onstage, however, was not his original ambition. “When I was a kid, I actually wanted to be a chef,” he said. “Now, I just cook for fun.”

In “Chicago,” Concepcion gets to work with the legendary Charlotte D’Amboise. “I still can’t believe it!,” he said.

Also in the cast of “Chicago,” aside from D’Amboise and Concepcion, are Kimberly Marable as Velma Kelly, Max von Essen as Billy Flynn, Lili Thomas as Matron “Mama” Morton, Max Clayton as Fred Caseley and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.

Starting January 29, however, “Vanderpump Rules” star Ariana Madix will take over the role as Roxie Hart.