Chicago, is based on the musical play written, directed, and choreographed for the stage by Bob Fosse. The movie was choreographed and directed by Rob Marshall. It is set in the 1920s when Chicago was a city with big mobster problems and big newspaper headlines that shocked and entertained the attention of its citizens. The stories that captured most everyone's attention were women who were cold-blooded killers who were in "Chicago's famed Murderer's Row." The media would spin sordid tales about their lives and killings to feed the public's insatiable appetite for sensational news to sell their morning and evening papers. Instantly, women who've been accused of murder were seen as victims. The people would sympathize with her and would view her as a heroine and give her celebrity status.
Roxanne Hart, (Renee Zellweger) an aspiring stage star in a jazz club, becomes involved and has an affair with a man she believes will make her famous. She finds out that he's a liar and carelessly shoots him to death. She convinces her husband, Amos (John C. Reilly) to take the fall. The police don't believe their story and arrest Roxie.
Velma Kelley (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a famous local Jazz singer, who also is in jail for murdering her husband, and her sister who were having an affair. The public is eating up her story and she loves the attention. Billy Flynn, (Richard Gere) her sleazy lawyer, is the puppet master who feeds the media the information to manipulate the public's opinion. Roxie goes out of her way to get Billy as her lawyer to escape a definite death sentence.
Mama Morton, (Queen Latifah) who is the jail matron, is in cahoots with Billy Flynn. She introduces Roxie to him. He charges Roxie $5,000 to take her case and guarantees her freedom. The trial is like a three-ringed circus and Billy as the ring master. He masterfully choreographs his acts--the media, the courtroom, Roxie (his star act)--to perform to the delight of the public.