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Spotlight on Cabaret: Contributions

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.”

(WHO-grade sanitizer by CelloVia. Non-surgical masks by Hilary Feldman and other #SingersSewing)

Last month I reported on singers who were starting to share their music through our many small screens. Well here’s some good news: The quantity of homecasters has exploded and continues to grow. One night this past week I saw four different performers. FOUR DIFFERENT PERFORMERS! IN ONE NIGHT! The opportunity to see four great shows in one night is rare and usually involves a hefty Uber bill. Not these days . . . and I didn’t have to change out of my sweatpants.

More good news: the latest contribution to the Chicago music scene is the online homecast series. If you can remember what day it is, tune in to Facebook Live for:

•Carolyn Wehner Wednesdays at 5 p.m., and Jeanne Tanner is next up at 6 p.m.

•Thursdays you can watch Liz Mandeville at 6 p.m. and then Anne and Mark Burnell at 7 p.m.

•Sophie Grimm and Vasily Deris are doing “6 at 6” on Saturdays at, you guessed it, 6 p.m.

And you can find a parade of performances on the Chicago Cabaret Professionals’ YouTube channel ( It’s almost a dream come true!

Ahead of most of the world as usual, cabaret coaches and teachers are contributing to the economy by finding ways to open again for business. Coaching via an Internet connection is challenging, but Beckie Menzie, Mark Burnell, Ellen Winters Reynolds, David Edelfelt, Sophie Grimm, Hilary Feldman, and SongShop are all making it work.

Speaking of Hilary Feldman, she and other cabaret darlings are putting their non-music skills to use. Hilary—along with KT McCammond, Lindsey Jane Bullen, and Kate McClelland—has sewn and donated hundreds of masks, and venue Le Piano has turned its beautiful space into a non-medical mask factory. CCP Circle of Song donor CelloVia (handcrafted spirits), has branched out into making WHO-grade hand sanitizer and donated a case to the Little Sisters nursing home.

Once again, the cabaret community contributes far more than just music.

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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