For Logan Floyd, a role as Velma in new tour of ‘Chicago’ marks a number of firsts

Before my phone interview with Logan Floyd, who plays the leading role of Velma in the 2020 national tour of “Chicago” stopping next week at Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre, I did an online search of her name.

Pictured above: ‘Chicago’ stops at Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre on March 2 and 3. Photo: Tristram Kenton

These touring performers are contractually obligated to be interview machines, popping off quick phoners with local journalists from the markets they’re due to perform in. The goal is to generate preview stories before their shows open. When I find out the name of the actor or member of the creative team I’m going to be talking to, I always scan for previous online articles to see if there’s something really interesting I’d like to ask about. You never know: Perhaps I’ll discover that my interviewee had to do an emergency landing at SFO when the pilot and co-pilot got food poisoning after eating the airline lunch, say. Or maybe she is a board-certified neurosurgeon on the side. Or it could be that she broke three bones when she fell into the orchestra pit during a matinee of “Sweeney Todd” but still went on in the second act.

But I couldn’t find a mention of Floyd singing the praises of “Chicago.”

To which my reporter spidey sense immediately suggested: Perhaps this is her first interview as Velma!

It turns out I was right. I was more than right. Not only was this her first “Chicago” interview, it was her debut interview as a professional actor, period.


“Yes, it’s my first,” she tells me with a laugh.

In a career break that I’m guessing caused some of her fellow musical-theater graduates at Texas State University in San Marcos to suffer small spasms of envy, the 22-year-old nabbed — for her first job out of college — a starring role in a national tour.

And not just any national tour. “Chicago” is pure pedigree, with music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb and original choreography by Bob Fosse. It opened in 1975, played a couple of years, and was revived in 1996. Still going strong, the revival has been running on Broadway so many years that it could rent a car.

Floyd is talking to me by phone on Thursday from Yakima, Washington, where the 2020 tour of “Chicago” is in previews before heading to an opening in Spokane. Then it’s on to Fresno for opening night on Tuesday, March 3.

To say that Floyd is enthusiastic about the part would be an understatement, like saying that “Chicago” is about a couple of annoyed wives. This isn’t just any role for her, she says.

“I saw the show on Broadway when I was around 12,” she says. “It’s my favorite musical.”

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Growing up, she would tell people that she wanted to be Velma Kelly in “Chicago.”

Set in the jazz-and-gin-soaked era of the Roaring 1920s, the musical dramatizes the story of a group of famed women murderers that sprung from Chicago’s violent streak. Velma is a vaudeville star who has gained much greater fame after killing her husband. Her tabloid notoriety takes a dive, however, when she’s supplanted by Roxie Hart, also accused of mariticide.

For Floyd, she’s always connected with the character’s determination.

“I think there is something about her wit and humor that really just sparks something in me,” she says. “I think she’s so dry and ironic. Beyond that, there’s someone who is also passionate about her own career.”

Most of the time with long-running national tours, performers rotate into shows individually. But with the 2020 national “Chicago” tour, the entire cast started from scratch.

“It was one of the first times the creative team was able to set it fresh for all of us,” Floyd says. “I think it really brought us together as a cast.”

“Chicago” is a highly stylized show known for its distinctive staging. Ann Reinking did the choreography for the revival in the style of original choreographer Bob Fosse. One of the key goals of the creative team is keeping faithful to the vision of the Broadway version.

“There are very specific things that everyone has to hit,” Floyd says, “but I also had a lot of freedom.”

Logan Floyd’s first professional role is Velma Kelly in the national tour of ‘Chicago.’

Auditions and rehearsals were held in New York, where current members of the Broadway cast were able to drop by and offer tips and advice.

One of those cast members was Amra-Faye Wright, who is famed for her expertise in the role of Velma. She has played it worldwide since 2001 (and has even performed it in Japan — in Japanese! — and on Broadway and the West End in London since 2005.

Needless to say, Floyd was floored.

“It was an insane experience,” she says. “I kind of blacked out for a few seconds there meeting someone who was so iconic.”

As our phone interview rolls to a close, I tell Floyd about my ticket giveaways for The Munro Review and how I ask readers a question to answer when they enter. For “Chicago,” I ran a photo of the cast in spectacularly skin-tight and revealing outfits, and then asked: “Would you be able to fit into any of those costumes?”

(My favorite answer, from Courtney Bautista: “I could definitely fit into the shoes.”)

Yes, you have to be in great shape to play in “Chicago,” Floyd agrees. One of the first places the cast hits is the hotel gym.

And thus it comes to an end: Logan Floyd’s first interview for a professional show. “I had a great time talking with you,” she says.

In terms of her passion for the show, ability to talk about her character and general upbeat vibe when promoting musical theater, she comes through like a pro.

Show info

‘Chicago,’ a Broadway in Fresno production at the Saroyan Theatre. Opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, and continues through Wednesday, March 4. Tickets are $45-$125.

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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