From "All That Jazz" to "Razzle Dazzle," Chicago is bursting at the seams with memorable songs. One number you won't be hearing in the long-awaited film adaptation, however, is the second-act showstopper "Class." A duet between jailhouse boss Mama Morton and scheming showgirl-turned-convict Velma Kelly (played in the movie by Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones respectively), "Class" always brings down the house with its ribald observations about modern society's lack of... well, class. So why did director Rob Marshall drop the tune from the pic?
"We did shoot it," Marshall tells TV Guide Online, "and we actually put it in a test screening." Unfortunately, he explains, the song hurt the film's pacing. "When we asked the audience 'Where did the movie feel slow?' they all said 'Class.' It was painful to cut it, but when you're making a movie of a stage musical, songs do get eliminated."
Marshall promises that the sequence will see the light of day on DVD, which is music to Latifah's ears. "It bummed me out a little [that "Class" was cut]," says the actress and hip-hop star. "I love the song and I felt it was a cool scene with Catherine and I. But I'm here for the team, whatever makes the movie work."
Besides, it's not as if people have forgotten that this Grammy winner and now-Golden Globe nominee knows how to belt. And if they did, she has a solo number in the movie as well as a new album, entitled First Love, due out in 2003. Latifah isn't putting her acting career on hold though. Her next movie Bringing Down the House, in which she stars opposite Steve Martin, hits theaters on March 7."I want to be a great actor," she says. "I want to build a great body of work, so sometimes you've got to hold out for a good role. Thank God for the music because I've been able to wait and choose better roles instead of taking any old part."