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Spotlight on Cabaret: Binge Listening

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

By Tracy Adams

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 via the monthly column/calendar, “Spotlight on Cabaret.”

Here are three cabaret recordings with Chicago ties recommended by Tracy.

While the online offerings of our favorite singers continue to multiply and the opportunities to expose ourselves to new voices grow every day, my quarantine mood has reached the point where I’m starting to long for things familiar. All the new COVID-inspired anthems and adaptations are great, but where’s my evening of Cole Porter and the Gershwins?

So, I have started binge listening: pulling a set of five to ten CDs—yes, CDs—and listening to each one start-to-finish. Listening in a focused way, like I would if I were in a listening room, not as background while I clean or cook or do the laundry. And it is wonderful! It feels like I am sitting down and having a conversation with an old friend, a treasured friend I haven’t seen in a very, very long time. As is often the case with old friends, we repeat stories we’ve told a thousand times, and they seem familiar—yet new—given today’s new context.

You probably have your own favorite recordings; now is a great time to pull them out and give them a listen. If you don’t have your own library or want some new inspiration, here are ten I have lined up today by cabaret performers currently or formerly based in Chicago:

Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway: Sibling Revelry

Anne and Mark Burnell: Little Things We Do Together

Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael: Better Two-gether

Elaine Dame: You’re My Thrill

Hilary Ann Feldman: Taking Flight

Joan Curto: May I Suggest

Karen Mason: Not So Simply Broadway

KT McCammond: Finding My Way Home

Laura Freeman: Something Cool

Tom Anderson: The Journey

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.

For a complete Cabaret calendar listing, visit


Tracy Adams has spent more than four decades on stages of every kind, from intimate cabarets to large auditoriums, hotel restaurants to European cathedrals. For seven years, he was the restaurant writer for Gay Chicago Magazine. He spends his days as a training manager for an accounting firm. All of these endeavors reflect his personal mission in life, which is to help people grow.

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