Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC Davenport's Marks 5th Anniversary Donna Kirchman and Sue Berry Recall the Journey
by Rick Reed
2003-11-19

This article shared 5880 times since Wed Nov 19, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Pictured: Sue Berry and Donna Kirchman. ----------------------------------------

There aren't many cabaret venues in Chicago. Fortunately for the Windy City, we have one of the best anywhere right here in Wicker Park.

This month, Davenport's celebrates five years of entertaining Chicago audiences with some of the best musical acts around, in a venue that's stylish, yet comfortable. It's part piano bar, part cabaret. The atmosphere is warm and laid-back, with soft wood panels, delicate lighting, and blue velvet curtains that line the walls, and it's also quite modern —no posing as Sinatra in here. The crowd is a mix of young and old that appreciates good music, good drinks, and good conversation.

Legendary jazz singer Ann Hampton Callaway will be on hand from Nov. 19-23 to help celebrate the fifth anniversary milestone. A Chicago native now living in New York, Ann Hampton Callaway is one of the most widely acclaimed singer/songwriters working in the pop and jazz world today. She received a Tony Award nomination in 2000 for 'Best Featured Actress in a Musical' for her role in Swing! and won the Theatre World Award for 'Outstanding Broadway Debut' that same year. Television audiences will know her voice from the theme song for the CBS comedy The Nanny, which she wrote and performed. Her CDs include Signature, which features the signature songs of the great jazz legends of the 20th century. The Cole Porter Estate officially recognizes Ann Hampton Callaway as the only composer to have collaborated with Porter, having set her music to his posthumously discovered lyric, 'I Gaze in Your Eyes.'

Also on the bill for this special month is acclaimed New York cabaret artist Baby Jane Dexter with her with her new show Another Spring, (Then and Now). This eclectic performance includes songs by Randy Newman, Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Michael Kamen, Vernon Duke and The Beatles. Baby Jane Dexter perfomed Nov. 12-16.

Many other celebratory acts are lined up for November. This is a month to make sure you pay a visit to Davenport's. Recently, I had a chance to speak with Donna Kirchman who, with partner Sue Berry, are co-owners of the venue.

RR: Congratulations on your firth anniversary! Why don't we start off by having you tell our readers a little bit about the birth of Davenport's? What made you want to open a piano bar and cabaret?

DK: Our inspiration came from Karen Mason and Brian Lasser. We followed their careers from Orphans on Lincoln Avenue to Broadway in New York. The piano bar and cabaret entertainment form has always been our favorite. And while we could find this combination in New York there really was not this type of venue in Chicago. There was a void we knew we could fill because the talent pool in Chicago is so robust.

RR: Where did the name come from?

DK: One of our founding owner's name was Davenport. We picked his name over either of ours because you could make a grand piano out of a 'D' which became our logo and 'davenport' is consistent with our furniture row location.

RR: Were there any problems getting it off the ground? Has your business grown steadily or was it an instant hit?

DK: Having Karen Mason as our first headliner really helped us a lot. We got great press and so many people came into the club when we first opened and thankfully kept coming back and bringing their friends.

RR: The times I've visited have always been lively and fun, usually packed with people. What do you think keeps them coming and coming back?

DK: Ty, Pamela, Karen, Cindy, Justin, Michael, Jenny, Lucia, SueWho, Renee, Daryl, George, Gwen and Andrew … our incredibly talented and energetic wait staff and musical directors. We have never waivered from our original goal, which is to hire a staff that loves to entertain. And of course the shows in the cabaret room are a terrific draw.

RR: How involved are the two of you in the day-to-day operations of the club?

DK: We are very involved in the behind-the-scene management: financials, communications and booking. But since it was not realistic for us to leave our careers we have a remarkable general manager who handles the day-to-day operations. Also our staff is very devoted to the art of cabaret and helps us keep the club in top-notch form.

RR: How have you gone about finding and attracting the great range of talent you currently have?

DK: Our cabaret room is one of the finest in the city. Performers know this and want to play the room. Our mission has been and continues to be to showcase Chicago talent and 'pepper' the bookings with out-of-town performers. Chicago musical directors like Dan Stetzel, Beckie Menzie, Mark Burnell and Daryl Nitz often introduce us to bright and talented new performers.

RR: Who are some of the more memorable people who've either played the piano bar or who have done cabarets?

DK: There are so, so many. We opened the club with Karen Mason. And we have had some wonderful acts from out of town: Julie Wilson, Baby Jane Dexter, Heather McRae, Cory Jamison, Lee Lessak, KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler. The touring companies from Ragtime, Best little Whorehouse in Texas and Cabaret, have performed on Monday nights when their theatres are dark. Bea Arthur sang '50%' in our piano bar. You could have heard a pin drop until the last note when the crowd went nuts. And Ann Hampton Callaway stopped by one night and played in the piano bar to the delight of our late-night crowd. But most important is the incredible talent pool right here in Chicago. They are responsible for keeping this fragile art form alive and kicking.

RR: Your special guest for your anniversary celebration is Ann Hampton Callaway. What's your history with her? What was behind selecting her as your headliner for this special milestone?

DK: Ann is an incredible performer who has not played Chicago recently [besides a benefit for Lesbian Community Cancer Project]. And as everyone knows she is sensational! Ann is so very well known. We feel blessed that we were able to make this booking a reality for our anniversary.

RR: The two of you are in a committed relationship, right? Does co-owning a piano bar and cabaret add any interesting wrinkles or dimensions to the relationship? Are you equally involved with the club?

DK: Wrinkles? Sure there are a few but mostly just on our faces. Being together for almost 25 years is a true benefit. We know how to capitalize on each other's strengths. So while we are equally involved in the club, we do not generally duplicate efforts.

RR: What are your future plans for Davenport's?

DK: We will stay true to our mission to showcase the best of Chicago talent whether in the Cabaret or in the piano bar. We will continue to offer in a fun, high-energy, place to just 'forget all your troubles …get happy.'

Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. (closed Tuesdays), Fridays from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations for all performances are strongly encouraged. A two-drink minimum is in effect in the Cabaret. For reservations or more information, please call (773) 278-1830. Valet parking is now available on the weekends.


This article shared 5880 times since Wed Nov 19, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, NFL player, gay country singer, 'Bliss,' MGK
2022-07-03
LGBTQ+ teen sensation JoJo Siwa will guest-star in the third season of Disney+'s hit series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Out Magazine noted. She will play Madison, a Camp Shallow Lake alum. Also, Corbin ...


Gay News

Ricky Martin at center of $3M lawsuit
2022-06-30
Superstar singer/actor Ricky Martin has been sued by his former talent manager, Rebecca Drucker, Deadline reported. Drucker was Martin's manager during 2014-18 and 2020-22. The complaint, filed June 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks in ...


Gay News

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years
2022-06-30
On June 29, Chicago-born R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, The Chicago Tribune reported. The sentence marked a fall from grace after decades of sexual-misconduct ...


Gay News

MUSIC 'All Day I Dream' festival Aug. 6 in Chicago
2022-06-29
All Day I Dream of Chicago Shimmer—part of the global touring festival All Day I Dream (ADID)—will take place on 31st Street Beach on Saturday, Aug. 6. After 10 years of producing hundreds of iconic day ...


Gay News

MUSIC Taylor Bennett announces free July 22 show at Lincoln Hall
2022-06-29
Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett—whose year has included teaming with Champion Athletics for a clothing line and tour; dropping his new project, Coming of Age; and much more—announced his free homecoming show on Friday, July 22, at ...


Gay News

THEATER Theo Ubique hosting production about Elizabeth Taylor
2022-06-29
Evanston's Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard St., will run Call Me Elizabeth—an acclaimed one-woman show about the early life of Elizabeth Taylor—on Aug. 20 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 21 (at 2:30 p.m.) only. The production ...


Gay News

Pride in the Park pumps up the volume in 2022
2022-06-27
From East Monroe Street to East Jackson Drive, Pride in the Park covered just the right amount of territory in the Grant Park area in downtown Chicago on June 25 and 26. Butler Field was overrun ...


Gay News

Back Lot Bash attendees party during Pride weekend in Chicago
2022-06-27
The inclusive music fest known as the Back Lot Bash took place June 25-26 at 5238 N. Clark St., in Andersonville. Back Lot Bash started in 2004 in response to the lack of women's events and the limited presence of ...


Gay News

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson
2022-06-26
A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elliot Page, NPH, Madonna, Chita Rivera, Jennifer Lopez
2022-06-26
Elliot Page talked with talk-show host Seth Meyers about how her Netflix show The Umbrella Academy incorporated the actor's own personal transition into season three of the series, Deadline noted. "With Steve Blackman, the showrunner of ...


Gay News

Lynda Carter releases new single, 'Human and Divine'
2022-06-23
Many people are familiar with actress Gal Gadot as superhero Wonder Woman. However, decades before, Lynda Carter wore the bracelets and wielded the golden lasso as the Amazon princess who set many hearts (of men and ...


Gay News

Back Lot Bash taking place June 25-26
2022-06-22
The inclusive music fest known as the Back Lot Bash will take place June 25-26 at 5238 N. Clark St., in Andersonville. Back Lot Bash started in 2004 in response to the lack of women's events and the limited presence of ...


Gay News

The Andersonville Village Market returns for summer 2022
2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (June 21, 2022) The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to welcome back its 2nd annual Andersonville Vintage Market, featuring antiques, home décor, jewelry, accessories, clothing, music and ...


Gay News

Chicago Philharmonic launches 2022-23 season
2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - (June 20, 2022) Chicago Philharmonic has announced its 2022-23 symphonic season on the heels of a 2021-22 season that ended with the sold-out Chicago Premiere of Marvel Studios' Black Panther in Concert. The ...


Gay News

Chicago Pride Fest adds new features to the outdoor celebration
2022-06-20
The Chicago Pride Fest outdoor celebration returned June 18-19, as local Pride events lead up to the parade on Sunday, June 26. The festival featured music on three stages and more than 150 vendors running down ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.