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Spotlight on Cabaret

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

by Anne Burnell

The line between jazz singing and cabaret singing is often fine, blurred, and crossed—with frequently spectacular results that delight Chicagoland listeners. Chicago Jazz Magazine is thrilled to partner with Chicago Cabaret Professionals in the debut of the monthly column/calendar, “Spotlight on Cabaret”

Cabaret at Park West, 2019. Photo by Phil Onofrio.


Chicago Cabaret Professionals, founded in 1998, is a non-profit alliance of advocates for the art of Cabaret. Cabaret has been at the heartbeat of intimate nightclubs for more than a century, where singers tell a story with music from The Great American Songbook to jazz and blues, from burlesque and Broadway to comedy and satire.


February kicks off with the Nitz & Howe Experience every Saturday at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret, and Nitz & Friends North every Tuesday at Le Piano. Le Piano featured guests include: Bob Solone, KT McCammond and Scott Urban (2/4), and Andrew Blendermann (2/11). Drew’s on Halsted has piano players galore: Brian Felder (2/1, 8 with Kiki & D, and 11), Mark Burnell (2/4), Carolyn Wehner (2/5, 21, 28), Sami Scott (2/7, 14), Elizabeth Doyle (2/15), Bob Solone (2/27). Mark Burnell plays at the Tortoise Supper Club (2/1). At the Skokie Theatre Charles Troy Presents “The Making of A Little Night Music” (2/5), followed by Mick Archer’s Valentine Schmalentine! (2/13). On Valentine’s Day at Bistro Bar Port & Park, John Bowen and friends perform Love Songs (dinner & show). “Girls Like Us: Barbra, Bette & Bernadette” (2/14 & 2/16) at Dominican University’s Martin Recital Hall, features Laura Freeman, Beckie Menzie and Marianne Murphy Orland in fund-raisers for the Oak Park Festival Theatre. “Opportunity Knocks,” hosted by Bob Howell with Dan Stetzel on piano, and guest singers present Music through the Day (2/16) at Davenport’s; “Say Yes!” with Stephen C. Edwards (2/22). Drew’s presents divas: Denise Tomasello (2/22) and Melissa Young (2/23). “That’s Amore” at Skokie Theatre (2/28) will feature Carla Gordon, Frieda Lee, David Meulemans, Kevin Wood, The Boomer Babes (Pam Peterson and Jan Slavin) with Howard Pfeifer on piano and direction by Kevin Wood. “Take a Leap of Faith with the Songstas: Friends with Benefits” at Drew’s on Halsted leap year (2/29) stars Cathy Glickman, Amy Lechelt, Anna Palermo, Arlene Armstrong, Patricia Salinski, with music director Beckie Menzie. Petterino’s Monday Night Live is always cooking on Mondays with hosts Denise McGowan Tracy and Beckie Menzie, and a lotta show tunes!

SAVE THE DATES Get carried away by Chicago Cabaret! March 20–30, 2020, will be the first-ever Chicago Cabaret Week with 45 shows in 18 different venues across Chicagoland as part of the Year Of Chicago Music.

For a complete Cabaret calendar listing of February and beyond, visit


Anne Burnell is a founding member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals and currently serves as President. She performs at clubs and festivals along with her husband pianist/vocalist Mark Burnell. The duo celebrated 25 years together teaching and performing with the Cabaret Connexion in September in Paris, and just returned from performing in Playa La Barqueta in Panama. Anne and Mark sang the national anthem for the Cubs, White Sox, and Special Olympics. They will be part of Chicago Cabaret Week, for the Year Of Chicago Music. Anne Burnell's last recording, Summer Days & Dreamy Nights, was produced by guitarist Henry Johnson, and the previous Blues in the Night—Songs of Harold Arlen, featured arrangements by Count Basie band veteran Bob Ojeda. Her albums have garnered airplay on NPR stations reaching Top Ten status on CMJ Jazz charts. Anne is also an author and instructor for fitness and therapy organizations .

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