Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos, Beckie Menzie, KT Sullivan

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Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos
Beckie Menzie, and KT Sullivan

Midwest Cabaret Conference Faculty Concert

A Song for Every Season

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, July 5, 2019

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Rick Jensen, Lina Koutrakos
Beckie Menzie, KT Sullivan

It’s tradition at the Midwest Cabaret Conference that the faculty concert precedes the participant showcase. This sets the bar for participants and allows the faculty to put their pearls of wisdom into real-life cabaret. Rick Jensen flexed well both his performer and songwriter muscles with his original songs, including “Coney Island.” Beckie Menzie’s musical mission is often putting new twists on standards.
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 She chose a bluesy feel for “Almost Like Being in Love,” building the story from realization to unbridled joy. As a cabaret educator, she reminded her students (and the rest of us) to “Let Yourself Go.” Although conference producer Lina Koutrakos can belt with the best of ’em, she offered “I Remember” with the gentle simplicity it demands.  On “You Go to My Head,” she found an effective jazz bounce while consistently honoring Haven Gillespie’s sensuous lyric. KT Sullivan devoted much of her set to her latest project When Barbara Met Wally. Soprano Sullivan saluted soprano Cook with “I Love a Piano,” as well as on “You Never Met Marianne” and a boffo close with “It’s Better with a Band.
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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