Chicago News: May/June 2015

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Hilary Ann Feldman salutes Carol Burnett at Davenport’s 5/9, 16 & 23. Robert Rodi appears 5/10 in The Sound of Music, Man. The Chicago Cabaret Professionals offer Strut Your Stuff 5/11 featuring Helene Alter-Dyche, Anna Besserud, Jenifer French and Sue Susman with musical direction by Nick Sula. Anne Steele brings What’s Mine 5/15 & 17. May 18 brings Rainee Denham in The Promise of Spring with Mark Elliott at the piano. Linden Christ, Elise LaBarge and Sarah Simmons debut as The Irving Sisters with Jimmy Morehead on piano. May 24 brings Janet Sanzo presenting Here’s to Life: Celebrating Seasons with Beckie Menzie serving as musical director. Kat Victoria brings All Love, Pearl saluting Pearl Bailey 5/31 joined by The Derrick Bounds Trio. Emily West appears 6/4, 18 & 25. Jenifer French & Friends present an encore performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!, a loving tribute to the Sherman Brothers. The show features Jim Cox (bass), Jenifer French (vocals & MC), Phil Gratteau (drums), Adam Haus (guitar & ukulele), George Howe (piano, vocals, Musical Director), and Daryl Nitz (vocal, director). That’s 6/13. Jay Cook makes his solo debut at Davenport’s 6/19 & 26 in On the Way to Now.

May 3 brings host Elaine Dame, along with members of Chicago’s jazz and cabaret communities (including Cabaret Scenes’s own Carla Gordon) in Music for Matthew—A Benefit for The Matthew Shepard Foundation at The Southport and Irving. Rachel Page and Ann Marie White (aka Side by Side Cabaret) perform I’m Not My Mother to MCL 5/9 & 16 and as a matinee on Mother’s Day, 5/10. Musical direction is provided by Nate Buccieri.

Monday Night Live continues its eighth season at Petterino’s with Denise McGowan and Beckie Menzie hosting their impromptu musical showcase every, well, Monday night! Tommy Hensel presents Sondheim: The Songs That Got Away with Pam Peterson and Carolyn Brady-Riley at Morraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills for evening and matinee performances 5/17.

June 5 finds Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael at the 100th Birthday Concert for Bart Howard in the Burlington Capital Theatre in Iowa. Menzie and Michael also appear in That ‘60s Show 6/20 at The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan.

Kevin Wood is at the Joslyn Center at the Arthur Newman Theatre in Palm Springs, CA 5/10 presenting Sentimental Journeys: A Cabaret Travelogue. Charles Troy presents Cole Porter’s Great Depression at The Skokie Theatre 5/6 with both matinee and evening performances. Caryn Bark, Pam Peterson, Robin Reibman and Janet Slavin, with special guest Carla Gordon, bring Funny Old Moms to the Skokie 5/10. May 20 brings chanteuse Julie Butler in Hooray for Hollywood! A Girl And Her Guitar. An Evening with Megon McDonough is 5/ 23. She also appears 6/10 in Oak Brook for Itasca Bank’s Womens Initiative.

Back at the Skokie, Carla Gordon will be hosting You’re a Grand Old Hootenanny featuring The Americana Ensemble, Three for the Road, Silver Dollar and Ester Hana 5/24. Charles Troy returns there 6/3 for matinee and evening performances of The Creation of A Little Night Music. June 13 brings Christine Steyer in So, You Want to Be a Diva? Charlene Brooks salutes Stephen Sondheim in Putting It Together 6/27.

Daryl Nitz Entertainment presents Everyone Loves a Piano, the June Music Series at The Skokie. The series kicks of 6/6 with Signature with a Song: Great American Singers and the Songs that Made Them Famous, paying tribute to the signature songs of such artists as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Etta James, Carole King, Liza Minnelli, Mel Tormé and many more. Cast includes Laura Freeman, Jeff Hedberg, Beckie Menzie, Daryl Nitz, Johnny Rodgers and Denise Tomasello. Next up, 6/12, is Ladies Sing the Blues: A Billie Holiday Centennial Birthday Celebration. Music from her Columbia, Commodore, Verve and Decca catalogue will be sung by an outstanding roster of Chicago jazz, blues and cabaret artists, including Amy Armstrong, Kimberly Gordon, Sophie Grimm, Lynne Jordan, Frieda Lee, Liz Mandeville, Tecora Rogers and Jeannie Tanner.  Musical direction by Johnny Rodgers with Jim Cox on bass and Eric Schneider on horns. That’s followed 6/20 by another centennial celebration, It Was a Very Good Year, a concert for Frank Sinatra. Selections from his Columbia, Capitol and Reprise catalogue will be performed by Steve Biossat, Mark Madsen, Bob Moreen, Paul Motondo and Daryl Nitz. Musical direction by Johnny Rodgers with Jim Cox on bass and Phil Gratteau on drums. Closing out the series is The Nitz & Howe Experience (Daryl Nitz and George Howe), Chicago’s longest-running cabaret bar show with over 1,000 performances. For the first time, they have assembled a roster of talent from their 16 years of performing, including former and current staff members, plus two devoted fans who also happen to be wonderful singers. The cast includes Heather Currie, Matt Davis, Jenny Farney, Pamela Sue Fox, Jenifer French, Ann McGregor, Dan Michel, Ty Perry and Cheryl Szucsits. That’s 6/26.

Wayne Richards entertains the crowds at Big Shot in Arlington Heights Tuesdays through Thursdays.

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Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon is a singer/songwriter, director, and producer. The Chicago Tribune cited her among “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers….a major player in Chicago cabaret.” Reviewer Pam Peterson called her “Honey-voiced wisecracker!” Ageless Magazine called her performance as Sophie tucker, “A gem!” Gordon writes custom material for singers nationwide. Her flagship show, "Blacklisted," featuring songs made famous by artists blacklisted under McCarthyism, has toured to critical acclaim. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and on the Advisory Board of the Skokie Theater. Her songs air on WFMT’s Midnight Special and are being performed performed by cabaret artists nationwide.