Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos, Amanda McBroom, Beckie Menzie: Mixing It Up

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Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos,
Amanda McBroom, Beckie Menzie

Mixing It Up

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, July 11, 2015

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Rick-Jensen-Lina-Koutrakos-Amanda-McBroom-Beckie-Menzie-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Cities like Chicago that host cabaret conferences are graced with faculty concerts presented by  nationally recognized cabaret artists. As part of the 2015 Midwest Cabaret Conference, Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos, Amanda McBroom and Beckie Menzie entertained local fans and observant students. Highlights included Jensen’s original songs, such as “The Jensen Way,” recalling youthful times in wintry Minnesota.

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Chicago’s own Menzie gave a moving rendition of “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard. Koutrakos offered her sassy version of “You Fascinate Me So” (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh), which is now one of her signature songs, and dazzled in her languid, understated “Ode to Billie Joe” (Bobbie Gentry). McBroom offered classics like “Ship in a Bottle,” which she introduced as the first love song she ever wrote, then sang the hilarious “Keep It in Your Pants,” commenting on today’s political scene. We held our breath throughout “We Never Said Goodbye,” which combines powerful, prosaic reflections of the wife of the firefighter who never returns from the forest fire. McBroom and Koutrakos closing in a grand duet of “The Rose” was just right.

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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. carlacabaret@aol.com