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Stage Door Jonny
by JONATHAN ABARBANEL
2006-11-01

This article shared 2143 times since Wed Nov 1, 2006
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One of the biggest cabaret events of the year is coming up on Nov. 12 as Chicago Cabaret Professionals stages its annual gala at Park West. Music Speaks: A Cabaret Celebration will honor cabaret legends Buddy Charles, Audrey Morris, Johan Wallowitch and the still-kickin' Julie Wilson. The line-up of performers—26 of them not counting the honorees—includes just about everyone who is anyone in local cabaret. Among the familiar ( in some cases, too-familiar ) names: Joan Curto, Ester Hana, Claudia Hommel, George Howe, Steve Kimbrough, Heather Moran, Daryl Nitz, Suzanne Petri, Spider Saloff, MaryMonica ( sic ) Thomas, Denise Tomasello and Robert Whorton.

There are so many talented folk involved that pre-show performances will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m. Jonny has no doubt that following the show, many performers will hustle off to their regular Sunday night gigs at Davenport's, Cyrano's Bistro, Gentry and other boites that will be strangely deserted during the early part of the evening. Tickets are $45 ( reserved table ) and $25 ( non-reserved ) ; 312-409-3106.

Actually, November is crowded with interesting cabaret happenings, perhaps none more welcome than the return of Stephen Rader with a new show, Midler on the Roof, in which he will become the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. The show focuses on Midler's early career ( you know, when she sang for boys in towels at the Continental Baths ) , and will feature Rader's renditions of such Midler hits as Friends and Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy, plus her bawdy Sophie Tucker jokes ( authored for Midler by Bruce Vilanch when he still was a Chicagoan ) . Rader performs Midler on the Roof at 10:30 p.m. Saturday nights through November 25 at Davenport's; $12 cover plus two-drinks; 773-278-1830. FYI: Rader's spoof of Fiddler on the Roof for his show title is entirely kosher: Miss M's first Broadway role was in the original Fiddler production, playing one of Tevye's five daughters. Jonny knows everything.

Boystown fans of Cornelia's Restaurant know that the long-established eatery has offered cabaret entertainment for some time now. Best of all, there's no cover charge; the music comes as a bonus with dinner. On Thursday nights, for instance, you can catch Sami Scot 8-11 p.m. Check it out.

Sister act: Those Calloway girls, Liz and Ann Hampton, will be performing together Nov. 4 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. They don't gig together that often, so this is a rare opportunity. The Calloway concert is part of the ongoing 10th anniversary celebrations at the North Shore Center, which has presented some 3,705 performances attended by 1.3 million people. Tickets for Relative Harmony, as the Calloways call their act, are $100 for the 8:30 p.m. concert and a champagne dessert reception afterwards. Hey, it's a lot cheaper than Streisand tickets and the benefit proceeds stay in Chicago. 847-673-6300.

The Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance ( CSDP ) is hot to give away some money. Founded in 2003 with the goal of promoting public conversation on dance and physical theater, CSDP has hosted visiting artist-scholars, organized symposia and publicized various relevant events. Now CSDP is asking members of the community to come up with proposals that further its mission. The CSDP will provide up to $1,500 for lecture-demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops and other formats that engage the public in the ideas; processes and contexts of dance and movement performance. Applicants will be asked to provide a detailed description of their project, explaining how it will further the aims of the CSDP. Especially welcome are proposals that cut across and interconnect genres, venues and practices. Applications must be received by Dec. 15. If you think you have an idea that fits—say, a symposium on the challenges of drag ballet—you can contact the CSDP at Box 426, Evanston, IL 60204, or e-mail danceandperformance@gmail.com .

Bailiwick Repertory, which knows how to stay in the news with its strong line-up of theater and special events, has announced that writer/performer Karen Finley will appear Jan. 3-7 in her double bill, The Dreams of Laura Bush/The Passion of Terri Schiavo. Finley's return to Chicago will mark a double first for Bailiwick: her appearances kick off Bailiwick's 25th Anniversary celebrations, and also are the first event in Bailiwick's Second Sex Series. Inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's ground-breaking 1949 book, the new series is dedicated to arts that give women prominence. The Finley tickets are $25; 773-883-1090.


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