Velma had a bombastic act on the Chicago stage in which she and her sister did all kinds of acrobatics while singing and dancing… and then she came home from a quick trip to the grocer’s and found her husband and her sister in a compromising position, so she killed them both. She quickly adapts to the prison and starts making it work for her, paying off Mama to get her good gigs (once she gets off) and to find the best lawyer in town to clear her name. She has come up with various ways to manipulate the jury, including fainting and flashing them a bit of leg, and becomes incensed when Roxie ‘steals’ her courtroom act. Given the chance for a lighter sentence if she testifies against Roxie, she takes it, guilt-free. Though she initially balks at the idea of making nice with Roxie, once Roxie achieves more status and fame, she has no choice but to crawl to her on her knees and try to convince her to join a double-act. Velma insists that her testimony was ‘nothing personal,’ and that it doesn’t matter if Roxie hates her, if they can make a thousand bucks a week. She justifies all her actions by asserting that ‘they had it comin’!’ rather than admit she did anything wrong. Velma is always looking for an angle to exploit, and does it well.

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Velma has a gruff, larger-than-life personality, which delights in pure exhibitionism on stage. She murders her husband and her sister when she finds them in bed, and then trots off to her night job to sing and perform their sexualized routine—all alone. She doesn’t see the point in making friends on the cell block, and is outright rude to Roxie (she tells her if she wants advice, to keep her grubby paws off Velma’s silk laundry). Her first reaction upon finding out that Roxie is sucking up all the media attention is anger, then she’s even angrier to discover her own potential sources of revenue have dried up in Roxie’s wake. Though she doesn’t want to, Velma makes a halfhearted attempt to befriend her with a box of chocolates, and by impressing her with a dance routine, but also agrees with her that the “first part is shit.” She says show business is the only place where it doesn’t matter if you loathe the person you are performing with, and she lets bygones be bygones for a paycheck. She also doesn’t like to admit to her own failures, weaknesses, or even her crimes, arguing that her sister and her husband “had it comin’” for their behavior.