Personnel Chicago 2022

Conference instructors and leaders, left to right:
Row 1: Patrick Pernet, Lynne Jordan, Claudia Hommel, Dale Calandra, Michèle Barbier. Row 2: Cynthia Clarey, Carla Gordon, Denise Tomasello, Kyle Hustedt, Spider Saloff
Row 3: Beckie Menzie, Dan Stetzel, Clotilde Rullaud, Elisabeth Howard, Elizabeth Doyle and David Edelfelt
Row 4: Darren Stephens, Alex Rybeck, Isabelle Georges, Margaret Murphy Webb, Jeff Harnar

This conference continues the essential conversation on the art of cabaret among performers, teachers and coaches, writers and historians, and fans. Come meet each other!

Cette conférence poursuit l’essentiel de la conversation sur l’art du cabaret entre interprètes, enseignants et entraîneurs, écrivains et historiens, et fans. Venez vous rencontrer!

Workshop/Master Class Leaders

MicheleBarbier with microphone

Michèle began as actress and singer (Comédie Française, Festival d’Avignon, etc) but left everything for the circus in Sweden, Germany and her own company in France. She was discovered in Sweden by the legendary Josephine Baker who engaged her as personal secretary from 1969-1971. After thirty years, Michèle returned to theater, released three song albums, published novels, historical essays, theater and poems, and produced her one-woman-shows evoking the circus world and more recently her upbringing in Algeria. She has created events, often televised, such as the Gala de la Presse and Kréatika, the Festival of Authors-Composers-Performers. She was vice-president of the Alliance Francophone, taking her to many countries, most notably Japan. www.michele-barbier.comhe Alliance Francophone for which she has performed and traveled to many countries, including Japan.

Michèle, a commencé sa carrière comme actrice, chanteuse et auteur (Comédie Française, Festival d’Avignon, etc). Mais elle a tout quitté pour vivre dans le monde du cirque pendant trente ans, voyageant en Scandinavie, en Allemagne, puis dirigeant sa propre compagnie en France. En Suède, elle est découverte par la légendaire Joséphine Baker qui l’engage comme secrétaire personnelle de 1968 à 1971. Revenant au théâtre, à l’écriture et à la chanson, elle a sorti quatre albums, publié douze livres (romans, essais historiques, pièces de théâtre et poèmes) et produit et joué dans cinq pièces de théâtre, dont un one-woman-show inspiré du monde du cirque. Son dernier livre, Josephine Baker, les dernières années – La renaissance d’une étoile est paru aux Editions Riveneuve au début de l’année 2022. Originaire d’Algérie, elle a publié plusieurs ouvrages sur son pays natal . N’ayant jamais oublié la Guerre d’Algérie, elle présente en mars 2022 une nouvelle pièce de théâtre et publie un nouveau livre, consacrés à cette période qui l’a beaucoup marquée.
Elle a produit des événements télévisés, tels que le Gala de la Presse et Kréatika, le Festival des auteurs-compositeurs-interprètes. Elle est vice-présidente de l’Alliance Francophone pour laquelle elle s’est produite et a voyagé dans de nombreux pays, dont le Japon.

Rashida K. Braggs is Associate Professor in Africana Studies and affiliate faculty in American Studies and Comparative Literature at Williams College. Her book Jazz Diasporas: Race, Music and Migration in Post-World War II Paris investigates the migratory experiences of African American jazz musicians in 1946-1963 Paris. In her current manuscript and accompanying performance project “Move Jazz, Black Woman Move,” Dr. Braggs explores how and why black jazz women performers of African descent migrate to, from, and between Francophone cities around the world. Her work has also been published in such journals as The James Baldwin Review, Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, and The Journal of Popular Music. In such courses as “13 Ways of Looking at Jazz,” “Performing Blackness,” and “Black Migrations: African American Performance at Home and Abroad,” Dr. Braggs teaches students to explore how performance conveys values, patterns and negotiations of power in society. As a scholar-performer-writer, Braggs also writes, acts, sings, dances, and performs spoken word.

Direct, act, produce, write, consult: Dale specializes in directing/developing solo, concert, and cabaret shows, including for soloists Tom Mula (Next Theater), Rob LaMont (Cuneo Museum), Denise LaGrassa (Royal George/Theater Wit), Jenny Riddle Shows, and his own original character “America’s Favorite Aunt!” AUNT LOLA CABANA. As concert and cabaret director/consultant, he has led Beckie Menzie, Brian Lasser, Charlene Brooks, Elizabeth Doyle, Carmen Severino, Lou Galecki, Thalia Tarsinos, Judy and Bernie Rosignolo-Rice, Margie Gibson, Shane Taylor, Charles West, George Keating, Sparkle Sisters, Carol Moss. He has directed over 100 productions, is founder of Center Theater Ensemble, was creative director of The Training Center, Chicago’s top acting school for twenty years. He created the cult classic Lysistrata 2411, A.D., published by Doubleday. Has been artistic director of Festival Theater, Illinois’ oldest outdoor Shakespeare. A member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity, he has acted over 200 productions, was nominated for a Jeff Best Actor as Charlie in The Whale (Victory Gardens), and played Edna in Hairspray in the first national Broadway Tour. Ask about “CREATIVE LIFE” Networking! It may help your Career Development. Dale is directing our Showcase Finale.

Cynthia Clarey joined the cabaret world in Chicago after 35 years as an international opera singer. She can be seen on film in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and in the award-nominated Porgy and Bess directed by Trevor Nunn. Since coming to Chicago, she has been teaching at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She is a member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals and has performed at several venues in Chicago and beyond. Two years ago, she made her theater debut in Porchlight Music Theater’s Scottsboro Boys and was seen last year in their revisit of 1776. She also has two one-woman shows, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted and Bridge Over Muddied Waters that she presented at Davenport’s, Roosevelt, at the Schorr Family Firehouse Theater in Johnson City, NY. A show at the 8th Floor Club Room at Symphony Center In Chicago launched the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new programming for the African-American Network.

The magnet for many years at Chicago’s famed Pump Room, singer-pianist-composer ELIZABETH DOYLE has created, performed in, and often music directed an array of shows at Chicago’s major cabaret rooms and theatres. A featured guest on Marian McPartland’s NPR program Piano Jazz, Doyle’s compositions have been featured in New York ASCAP programs, at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, and at Disney/ASCAP in California.

Her musicals include Sleepy Hollow, Fat Tuesday, Alice In Analysis, Burnham’s Dream, Treasure Island, and Duo. She has two CDs: Elizabeth Doyle and Time Flies.”Elizabeth Doyle is one of Chicago’s most captivating performers.”—NPR Piano Jazz Elizabeth will headline with David Edelfelt their show, Cole Porter in Paris . She will music direct several performances and accompany workshops.

Elizabeth Doyle and David Edelfelt performing at Au Lapin Agile in Paris

 David is “a consummate song interpreter [who] probably sounds great singing the weather forecast” “one of Chicago’s best” [Chicago Tribune]. His one-man cabaret shows have garnered standing ovations from appreciative audiences, and have been called “superlative from start to finish, hilarious, deliciously engaging and simply brilliant.” After singing roles from Mozart to Kander and Ebb, David has found a home in cabaret at Davenport’s, Victory Gardens, The Park West, Skokie Theater, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Maxim’s, the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention, Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre and for three consecutive years at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. In September of 2019, he and musical partner, Elizabeth Doyle, were enthusiastically received as they presented their Cole Porter tribute “DeLovely” at Paris’ oldest cabaret, Au Lapin Agile, in 2021 at the Cole Porter Festival in Peru, Indiana, and this year at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City. David is not only one of Chicago’s top-tier cabaret performers, but also voice teacher, vocal coach, accompanist and arranger to some of Chicago’s most talented and in-demand cabaret, musical theater and classical singers. In his part-time work, he is also a respected choral conductor.

See or for his nationally acclaimed CDs: Love is Born at Christmas and the inspiring better.

A radiant and reassuring presence, a voice that reaches for the stars, a powerful zest for life through song and dance, a passion for new horizons, projects and encounters… Isabelle Georges unifies all of the aforementioned with a smile! On stage, as a performer, and creator of her own shows, we witness her inspiring cultural and artistic heritage in a joyful combination of musical theater, French songs, classical, jazz and Yiddish music.
This melting pot of music and language reflects her free- spirited, ever-curious nature, finely honed from childhood. The environment in which Isabelle grew up was both musical and music loving. It was profoundly humanistic, open and full of promises that, after many years in hospital, ignited inside her an energy that she would never lose. Musical theater allowed her not only to forge her own path alongside the dramatic soprano legacy from her mother but also to rediscover her body with dance and begin to arm herself for the stage in Jean-Paul Lucetʼs production of Barnum. Isabelle attended the Cours Florent and her idols include Judy Garland (the subject of her first show in 2005), Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Jacques Brel.

photo by Euphoria

Singer/songwriter producer, director, Carla Gordon was cited by the Chicago Tribune among, “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers … a major player in cabaret.” Cabaret Scenes called her “Honey-voiced wise cracker!” Chicago venues include Drury Lane Water Tower, Park West Theater, Preston Bradley Hall and Davenport’s. She has entertained at St. Louis’s Sheldon Theater, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, and Michigan’s Acorn Theater. Gordon’s songs have aired on WFMT’s Midnight Special. The Miracle We Need (written with Wayne Richards) was selected for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Other songwriting collaborators include Shelly Markham, Michelle Brouerman, Beckie Menzie, Elizabeth Doyle and Bob Moreen. Upcoming projects include Blacklisted at the Milwaukee Jewish Museum. She can be reached via [email protected].

Jeff has won multiple MAC, Bistro and BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards and The Noel Coward Foundation Cabaret Award. His Carnegie Hall appearances include both the Cole Porter and Noel Coward Centennial Galas.  Jeff’s televised PBS concerts include “The 1959 Broadway Songbook” with Music Director Alex Rybeck, “American Songbook: Stephen Sondheim” co-starring KT Sullivan, and Michael Feinstein’s “Live from NJPAC.” Jeff toured with Shauna Hicks in their Symphony Pops Concert “I Got Rhythm: Mickey & Judy’s Hollywood.” Jeff’s fifth solo album will be released worldwide by PS Classics on June 17, 2022.  The album, I KNOW THINGS NOW (My Life in SONDHEIM’S Words), features a 20 piece orchestra conducted by jazz virtuoso Jon Weber.
Jeff is also a BroadwayWorld, MAC and Bistro Award winning Director.  He has directed critically-acclaimed shows for Tovah Feldshuh, Rita Gardner and award-winning shows for Celia Berk, Dawn Derow, Josephine Sanges and Margo Brown. He will return to the faculty of The St. Louis Cabaret Conference this summer.

Actor-singer, teacher, cabaret promoter, Claudia brings to the Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion all her personal connections and passions. Born to two “Americans in Paris,” she has been seeking the cabaret scene in her birthplace of Paris for twenty-some years. Her recordings of Paris/Paree, Paris in the Jazz Age, Romance Language: French Songs for Lovers, and the two Jazz Fauré Project albums are a reflection of her eclectic, yet Paris-centric repertoire. She is on faculty at the Community Music Division of DePaul University School of Music with the award-winning workshop in song interpretation called SongShop. She founded the Chicago Cabaret Professionals in 1998 and is developing something similar for France with our French team of cabaret colleagues. Her performance website is

Todd Michael Kiech, A.K.A. Hot Toddy is a performer from Chicago. He is the 2009 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s “King of Burlesque.” Additionally he co-produced burlesque benefits Chicago Takes Off and The Tease. He is also an actor, and created Really Gay Collage, one-of-a kind, hand-cut collage art.

Elisabeth is the author of the Teacher’s Vocal Power Method Toolkit for CCM and the Singer’s Vocal Power Method Toolkit for CCM. She is recognized by National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) as a pioneer in the field of teaching Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) and featured featured in the NATS publication, So You Want to Sing Contemporary Commercial Music, as well as Training Contemporary Commercial Singers, published by Compton.
Elisabeth is a graduate of the Julliard School with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in voice and founder of the Vocal Power Academy in Los Angeles. She has presented Vocal Power Method Workshops for National Voice Teachers Conferences in eleven countries and has certified Vocal Power Trainers throughout the US, France, Italy and Brazil.
Clients include Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in the film, Beauty and the Beast, Lionel Richie, The Police, Priscilla Presley and was the warm-up coach for Sting at the Grammys. She has had clients on Broadway, National tours, American Idol, ten winners on Star Search and was a vocal coach on America’s Got Talent. Her Cabaret act, Op’ra to Pop’ra was performed in New York and Los Angeles clubs and was touted by Los Angeles Music Connection Magazine as “a talent to be reckoned with.” Elisabeth has performed leads in 25 musicals and operas. She won the national title, “Ms Senior America, 2012.”

KylieBear performs in Paris

A.K.A. Kylie Bear is a Chicago-based cabaret entertainer, producer and club owner. Classically trained as an opera singer (Northwestern University), Kyle has toured nationally and internationally with his avant garde cabaret style. Founder of The Cabaret Project in Chicago, he has produced hundreds of nights and artists for clubs, resorts, corporate as well as private clients. He is the owner of The Monocle in St. Louis, Missouri, a cabaret and burlesque nightlife venue with French-inspired decor and cocktail menu. The Cabaret Project creates opportunities each year for a myriad of artists ranging from voice, piano, vaudeville, cirque and burlesque utilizing approximately 60 artists annually. His most recent endeavor, The Feathered Beaus, have been traveling internationally and are receiving high praise for their handsome vocals, as well as their flashy costume and presentations. As a skilled voice teacher and coach, Kyle works tirelessly with the artists in his employ to make a stronger, more diverse musical product for the cabaret and nightlife market. He hopes to continue marrying stylization from all walks of the nightlife entertainment

In a city, brimming with classic blues and jazz divas, Lynne Jordan stands apart. Not only do her soaring vocals dip into blues, jazz, funk, rock, and even country but her bawdy personality has won over crowds. The late Chicago film critic Roger Ebert declared her his “favorite diva.” Backed by her sizzling band The Shivers, Jordan developed into a Chicago institution, playing jazz and blues clubs, The Chicago Bluesfest, swanky lounges and even the charity circuit throughout the country. She brought her special brand of storytelling, raw humor, and performance to Chicago, New York, and Atlanta with her sold-out show, A Musical Tribute to Nina Simone.
She has recorded with Tom Waits; The Punk group Urge Overkill; Alligator Records Blues artist Toronzo Cannon; performed in Jazz Operas in Europe; and is a featured vocalist with Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues. Lynne has traveled the world with her band the Shivers including a life changing performance in Kyiv, Ukraine in Freedom Square before an audience of 250,000! Jordan has performed her works at numerous Live Lit shows in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Moscow and Paris. Because she is a popular entertainer in Chicago, she has honed her storytelling skills with every song, in every concert and event and has created a one woman show A Great Big Diva that includes her wonderful stories and music. Lynne is a 3Arts Make a Wave Artist and is currently enjoying a “Diva Residency” as artist-in-residence at the Raue Center for the Performing Arts in Illinois. Lynne is presently working on two new recordings: original material and one of classic blues tunes from the 1920s & 1930s. Lynne is thrilled to be presenting as part of the Cabaret Connexion in 2022.

An award winning concert artist, Beckie has appeared at some of the nation’s top nightclubs and concert venues including the legendary Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Birdland in New York, Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and Park West, as well as at concert halls and art series across the country.

Hailed by Chicago’s WGN Radio as “one of the city’s finest cabaret performers,” Beckie is a three time winner of Chicago’s After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist. A staple of the Windy City music scene, Beckie has performed regularly at Davenports, Maxim’s, Gentry On State, and the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs musical events, where she frequently serves as musical director. Currently she co-hosts an open-mic at Petterinos with Denise McGowan Tracy called Monday Night Live, as well as one at Davenports.

Margaret Murphy-Webb received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Chicago State University. Active for over thirty years, this award-winning entertainer credits her unique vocal style and showmanship to the tutelage of world-legendary Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman. Margaret has been featured at the Taste of Chicago, Winona Indiana Jazz Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival; Chicago Blues, Jazz and Gospel festivals, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Andy’s, The Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, Pete Millers, Winters Jazz Club among other Chicago festivals and jazz venues. She had the honor of performing for both Presidents Obama and Clinton, as well as ambassadors from Russia and Poland. In 2018, Margaret was chosen by Jazz Journalists of America as Chicago’s Jazz Hero for her work in keeping the legacy of jazz alive on the south side of Chicago. Margaret is executive director of the nonprofit South Side Jazz Coalition which presents free live jazz, offers mentoring programs and advocates for Chicago musicians. A twenty-two year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and a breast cancer survivor, Margaret has quite a few stories to tell and she loves to do it with song. Margaret was a co-chair of The Year of Chicago Music 2020/21 and a member of the Chicago Cultural Council.

Pianiste et arrangeur, Patrick alterne le studio et la scène, sa première scène à l’âge de 13 ans démontre déjà ses compétences musicales. Depuis il accompagne un nombre impressionnant d’artistes, chanteurs, comédiens et humoriste. Son répertoire musical s’est enrichi de multiples parcours (orchestres de bal, groupes de jazz-rock, de rock, musique country, chanson française, animation d’ateliers-chanson). Il a à son actif réalisé, enregistré et arrangé plus d’une centaine d’albums, ses musiques pour théâtre sont exportées dans le monde entier. Dernièrement une pièce de Mateo Visniec s’est jouée en Corée du Sud à Séoul. Il participe à l’album de la chanteuse new-yorkaise Dawn Harden, de Manu Dibango et autres artistes étrangers. Remarqué pour ses talents d’improvisation et de musicien comique, il accompagne le clarinettiste excentrique Clovis, le groupe humouristique Le Bruit Qui Court et Michèle Barbier pour son spectacle sur le cirque.
Patrick Pernet pianist arranger alternates between studio and stage, having begun his musical career at age 13. He has accompanied an impressive array of artists, singers, comedians and humorists. His musical repertoire has been enriched by multiple genres (dance bands, jazz-rock bands, rock bands, country music, French songs), and leading song workshops. He has directed, recorded and arranged more than a hundred albums. His music for theater is exported the world over. Recently a piece of Mateo Visniec was played in South Korea in Seoul. He can be heard on the album of New York singer Dawn Harden, Manu Dibango and other foreign artists. Noted for his improvisational skills and comic musician, he accompanies the eccentric clarinettist Clovis, the humorous group Le Bruit Qui Court and Michèle Barbier’s show on the circus.

Clotilde is an international interdisciplinary creator, artistic director, vocalist, flutist, producer, and facilitator who employs a range of art forms to generate new poetic languages. She combines music, song, dance, and the visual arts to make singular performance pieces, concerts, and films. Her music and body in motion art movie XXY [ɛks/ɛks/wʌɪ] (2018) has been screened in over thirty festivals around the world and received several prizes and nominations. Her most recent album, A Woman’s Journey (2016) received sixteen awards, six of which were for the best album (in France and the USA). Clotilde’s second album, In Extremis (2008), was ranked among the top five albums of 2011 by The Sunday Times (UK) and 2013 by the NPR Annual Jazz Critics Poll (USA). Her international career has led her to perform at venues and festivals in Australia, Burkina-Faso, China, Germany, Korea, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and the United States.

AlexRybeck headshot
photo by Maryann Lopinto

Music Director, pianist, arranger and composer, Alex has worked with such showbiz legends as George Abbott, Hal Prince, Tommy Tune, and Burt Bacharach and Eartha Kitt. Broadway credits include Merrily We Roll Along and Grand Hotel. He has served as Music Director for Faith Prince, Karen Akers, Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, Donna McKechnie, Marni Nixon, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Karen Mason, Jeff Harnar, Lee Roy Reams, and Jason Graae, to name a few. Numerous CDs include The 1959 Broadway Songbook (Jeff Harnar), Sibling Revelry (The Callaways), Leading Men Don’t Dance (Ron Raines and others), and every solo album by Liz Callaway. As a grad student (NYU Musical Theater Writing Program), he was mentored by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Arthur Laurents, and Comden & Green. He has taught and coached cabaret singers since 1982, including stints at The International Cabaret Conference at Yale, The Saint Louis Cabaret Conference, and The Singing School (New Zealand). He lives in New York City.

Spider has been heard around the world as the host/star of the syndicated public radio series Words and Music, and thousands have enjoyed her jazz stylings through live performances. Spider was featured at Ravinia Music Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival and New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Chicago-based jazz vocalist has won accolades around the world for her introspective approach to the genre, most profoundly through her one-woman tribute to George Gershwin, The Memory of All That, conceived with the blessing of the Gershwin estate and headlining the Gershwin Centennial in St. Petersburg, Russia. Other international concerts include Poznan, Poland; Florence, Italy; and London.
Performing with orchestra or intimate jazz group, Spider has also composed concert tributes to Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim and partners with Dee Alexander and Frieda Lee as 3 Ellas Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald . As composer, playwright and actress, Spider wrote a one-woman musical, The Roar of the Butterfly that has toured from Chicago, to Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. Her original jazz/R&B song, When You See Me, a jazz/R&B tune can be seen on YouTube. Her weekly podcast Spider’s Web is on iTunes and at

Dan Stetzel is a musical director, arranger, vocal instructor, vocal coach, and pianist.  He has worked at many of the Equity theaters in Chicago, and at theaters across the United States.  As a conductor, he has toured nationally; and continues to accompany many major Broadway auditions in Chicago.  Dan has been affiliated with the Chicago Humanities Festival, curating and directing programs featuring Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, John Bucchino, Craig Carnelia, Cy Coleman, Steven Lutvak, and a host of performers, lyricists, and composers.  His work in the Chicago theater has been recognized by the Joseph Jefferson committee numerous times.  Dan is proud to be a faculty member at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Darren’s resume includes work in theater, in radio plays, on television and as part of the cabaret world, performing at the Noble Fool Theater Cabaret in different guises, including the ukulele-playing cowboy yodeler Ukulele Duke, and has been the host of his own live onstage talk-comedy-music program, The Darren Stephens Show. He has performed in the four-part harmony groups The Four Guys Standing Around Singing and Relative Obscurity at various comedy clubs and colleges across the country, and in his current group the three-part harmony bluegrass comedy group The Famous Brothers at many venues across Chicago. For that group, Darren has written songs such as “It Took A Single Piece of Rope To Take My Brother’s Life (But I’ve Got Twenty Ways To Kill You With My Swiss Army Knife)” and many others. Darren has improvised music and lyrics in front of audiences as part of the original cast of Musical! The Musical and for six months as part of the Second City House Improv Musical Ensemble. Darren has a B.F.A. in Speech and Theater, and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University. As a full-time freelance actor for many years, Darren has appeared in hundreds of radio and television commercials, on Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. and in independent films.

Winner of Chicago’s 1998 After Dark Award for “Outstanding Cabaret Artist”, Denise Tomasello is the performer the Chicago Tribune has called the consummate cabaret singer. She has headlined with comedian Jackie Mason at The Tropicana in Atlantic City, Don Rickles at The Hollywood Casino and with Alan King at Centre East. Her Chicago appearances have included capacity crowds at Park West, the famed Empire Room, Chicago Theatre, the Metropole Room in the Fairmont Hotel, the Auditorium Theatre and Metropolis Performing Arts Center among many others. Denise has headlined the Taste of Chicago and Festa Italiana in Milwaukee. A featured performer at NYC’s Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, she has also appeared in Manhattan at Eighty Eight’s. In LA, Denise has headlined at the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill, The Gardenia, and Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. She was honored with the Gold Coast award by the Chicago Cabaret Professionals in 2010. Denise is an accomplished actress in the Chicago theater scene and can be heard on several national commercials.

KatVictoria on Seine boat tour

Kat Victoria is a singer-songwriter, recording artist, two-time award- winning actor, and solo performer in the U.S. and France. She has performed at some of the best nightclubs and cabaret venues including, The World Famous Apollo Theater-New York, Park West-Chicago, Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret-Chicago, Skokie Theater, Pianoforte-Chicago, Carnival Cruises, Café Universal, Reiais de la huchette, and Studio Raspail in Paris France. A singer-songwriter and recording artist with CD Kat Victoria “Hollywood Shine on Me” available on ITunes, an award winning actress and eighteen-year veteran Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center actor. This lady does it all with an engaging, down-to-earth and humorous performance that delivers deliciously silky vocals of songs that moves, grooves and soothes the soul.  


HeleneAlterDyche promoshot

Originally an opera singer, Helene has been singing the Great American Songbook for over 30 years and has appeared in many cabaret shows, singing in several languages. Genres include jazz, blues and Broadway. She is also a songwriter/lyricist with 130 songs copyrighted by the Library of Congress

Susan Arjmand has collaborated with other Connexion members on performances throughout Chicago in cabaret , musical theatre, and opera.  She has performed with several Chicago area opera companies and is a founding member of Opera Inter Alia, a group of professional singers who offer a Sunday salon series in Chicago restaurants.  When not singing opera or cabaret, Susan is a physician and medical educator. 

A native of Chicago, Sue relocated to metro Detroit in 1999, after living in Montreal and Las Vegas. She has performed in community theater productions in all four cities. As a child, she learned the complete scores of Broadway musicals by singing to the cast recordings. A regular participant in karaoke venues, Sue has also entertained at assisted living venues, with show tunes, country, pop/contemporary, and French language songs. A natural performer, Sue loves to connect with her audience. She participates in Claudia Hommel’s SongShop, joined the Singers Jazz Workshop in Paris in 2015 and has attended all of the Cabaret Connexion conferences, thus far.

Myriam is a French-American actress. She has appeared in numerous U.S. and European productions. She also performs as a cabaret singer in several genres: Broadway, cabaret, jazz. Myriam is a world cabaret artist and actress, performing in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles for 20 years. Recently named LA Underground Superstar following a year-long residency at the Dresden Room in Hollywood and played the Rockwell and Taix. Myriam performs French cabaret songs from 1920s to 1980s—a “French jukebox” recreating the experience of landing in a small town in France. She also writes her own songs and has recorded both originals and covers at Hen House Studios in Venice Beach.

As her father would say, Carmen was “my only daughter who was born singing, not crying.” Born in the Philippines, microbiologist-turned-cabaret singer, she made her solo debut at Davenport’s in Chicago in 2013 with Here’s To Life! Her musical experience ranges from choirs, classic guitar, and cabaret. Auditing the 2018 Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion inspired her back to stage after five years of absence. She continues to sing with SongShopLive and is a member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals.

A seasoned stage vocalist in many types of shows from rock to cabaret in several languages, Jeanie reveled in the experience of participating in the St Louis Cabaret Conference twice. Jeanie worked for Club Mediterranée for several years traveling and singing in many “villages”. She studied French in Aix-en-Provence and lived and worked in Paris for several years, singing at Jazz Clubs in Montparnasse and at The Hollywood Savoy next to La Bourse. These days, Jeanie hails from Sedona, Arizona, a beautiful cultural Mecca for some of the best artists and musicians from all over the world. She has fun collaborating in shows and gigs including the Sentimental Journey Big Band, a combo called “The Classics”, and is the director of Red Rockappella, a Sweet Adelines barbershop small chorus.

Evelyn is a vocalist/actor/wardrobe mistress/teacher and costumer at the Goodman by day, professional performer by night. She has been with Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater for more than 25 years; singing, dancing, acting and most recently as “Miraculous Wardrobe Mistress.” With more than twenty musical productions to her credit, Evelyn has portrayed the legendary jazz great Ella Fitzgerald in four different productions. She serves in the music ministry of her home church, Covenant Faith Church of God.

Rhonda Findling is an internationally-recognized psychotherapist and author of several books on relationships, break-ups and detaching from unhealthy romantic entanglements. She comes to the Connexion as an amateur singer living in Atlanta and traveling frequently to New York, Nashville, and Paris, where she first joined the spoken word scene. Her go-to Karaoke songs are La Vie En Rose, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Shirelles), I Saw Him Standing There and Bobby McGee.

Jeanne Franks is a jazz vocalist and long-time on-air radio host at WDCB 90.9 FM, Chicagoland’s premier jazz station. She performs for corporate and private events. A Chicago native, she started piano lessons at age five after hearing jazz her father’s trio rehearsing in the living room and asking for a piano so she too could play! Jeanne played flute in school bands and later studied piano and voice at Elmhurst College and Benedictine University. For two decades, she was a soprano and soloist in the Wooten Choral Ensemble singing hymns, spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel music. A graduate of Knox College, she earned an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Jeanne fills in the spaces between singing and her radio show as a self-employed marketing, business development and interior design professional in the architecture and construction industry.

SSL 2018 Ruth square

RUTH FUERST: Our very own Dr Ruth is a psychotherapist by day.  By night, she dispenses her wisdom on stage. Along with Carol Weston and Arlene Armstrong, Ruth created and appeared in  Life is… and Thank You for the Music, initially at Davenports, and at senior centers around Chicagoland.  Ruth has appeared in several Rotary International Cabarets and  Songshop shows at Cyrano’s, the Jazz Showcase, etc. She débuted at Davenport’s in April 2015 her first solo show Wake Up and Dream, under the music direction of Bob Moreen. Her second solo show—The Carousel of Time— also with Bob Moreen, was a hugely successful 50th anniversary love song. Her third show at Davenport’s: You Gotta Be Kidding in 2017 was unabashedly progressively partisan.

Louise Gale

Louise has chosen to enjoy her retirement as a saloon singer. At the University of Detroit, she sang with the chorus’ specialty group The Singing Titans and performed at Expo 67 in Montreal. This past year she participated in Chicago Cabaret Professionals productions of Merry Measures and Strut Your Stuff. Most recently she launched her own cabaret show Broadway Broads at Davenport’s with Elizabeth Doyle at the piano. In addition, her small theater ensemble—S.W.A.G.—has produced four major productions in the last two years. She’s proud to call herself a regular at Petterino’s Monday Night Live and she can often be found around town at various venues where they might let her share the mic for a while.

Beth has always enjoyed singing and performing. After graduating from Indiana University, she traveled to New York City where she continued studying voice and acting. She performed in regional theaters where she played leading roles in dramas, comedies and musicals such as Endgame, There’s a Girl in my Soup, and The Fantasticks. Later, Beth moved to Chicago where she obtained a Masters Degree in Special Education and then a Law Degree from DePaul University. After practicing law for 20+ years, she retired and reinvented herself by becoming a certified ESL teacher. This newfound freedom has given her the flexibility to travel, meet people from all over the world and learn about other cultures. This new life has given Beth the chance to return to her first love. . . performing. She enjoys cabaret because it lets her explore songs without being bound by the restrictions of a specific role and the intimacy of cabaret lets her connect with her audience. In Chicago she has performed in showcases and open mics at Davenport’s, Petterino’s, and salons.

Julie’s experience in theatre and music ranges from off-Broadway, to Opera, all of the NYC-based daytime dramas, several films and cabaret.
A Chicago-NYC hybrid, Julie grew up in Chicago and spent 30 years in NYC, honing and practicing her craft as an actor, director  and coloratura soprano. Now living in Chicago, she has recently built a reputation in voiceovers and audiobook narration.  For 14 years, Julie was the artistic director of Love Street Theatre, an NYC-based small off Broadway house. She is currently artistic director of Twisted Muse Productions, a Chicago-based company focused on Women’s History. Hoping to learn a lot from these workshops. Excited to be here!

Actress, director, and singer, Staci has performed in several musical and non-musical productions in the Chicagoland area. Favorite shows include Nunsense (Sr. Robert Ann), Urinetown (Ma Strong and Mrs. Millenium), The Taming of the Shrew (Katherine), and Beauty & the Beast (Babette), Godspell, and The World Goes ‘Round. Staci has also appeared in several shows at Davenport’s Cabaret, including A Walk Through Love, a two-person show she co-wrote and co-produced.

Gaye Klopack has been a singer in Chicago for most of her life as well as a teacher of singing. She has performed with Grant Park Symphony Chorus, Ars Musica, Cantate Choir and the Chicago Choral Artists. In 2013 she released a CD of jazz standards,Small Day Tomorrow, and in 2019 a CD of jazz standards for children, Come Out ’n Play, with John Paluch and Pat Mallinger. She’s performed with Oscar Brown Jr., Clark Terry, Erwin Helfer and Johnny Frigo. She has taught choral music and private voice and vocal jazz at Jones Prep and the Chicago High School for the Arts. In 2009 she was honored as a “Distinguished Teacher” by President Obama for mentoring a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, has been a featured lecturer for “Jazzin’ Up Chicago Public Schools” for the Chicago Institute of Jazz and In 2010, was featured on the front cover of Choral Director Magazine.

French actress, dancer, creator, street and cabaret singer, Mylène was trained in classical-dance, modern-jazz, tap dance, flamenco (at AID), Argentine  tango (in Buenos Aires), musical comedy (AICOM). With accordionist Christian Bassoul, she co-hosts a weekly street ball at rue Mouffetard and performs cabaret events in Paris and the UK. Mylène wrote her first musical, In Vitro, in 2015. In 2017, she joined with Claudia Hommel to organize the Chicago and Paris encounters of the Cabaret Connexion. She continues to coordinate and recruit the French delegation for each conference.

Jonathan grew up in the performing arts; singing and dancing from a very early age and making his musical comedy debut at age 10. He worked professionally in musical theater for 30 years, appearing in over 100 productions, as well as a few operas and ballets along the way. He has had principal roles in the musicals The Music Man, Oklahoma, Damn Yankees, Fiddler On the Roof, A Chorus Line, On the Twentieth Century, Carousel, King of Hearts, Dames at Sea, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and many others. After retiring from his acting career, he spent the next twenty-some years as a columnist, film critic, book author, researcher, and arts writer. He has had the privilege to sing at The Gentry on Rush, The Gentry on Halsted, Davenport’s, Pianoforte, Lake House, the Harris Theater, Drew’s on Halsted, Le Piano, and Victory Gardens. 

Ava Logan is an award-winning singer-actress from Washington, D.C., now living in the Chicago area. Dr. Logan is a veterinarian by day and a jazz singer at night! The classically-trained jazz recording artist has performed jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues in the nationally and internationally, in jazz clubs, festivals, hotels and more with duos to 18-piece big bands! She has portrayed her idols Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson in professional theater performances in Chicago. Her first major CD, So Many Stars, produced by internationally acclaimed guitarist Henry Johnson, was met with critical acclaim.

Cristina Marinescu joined Chicago’s cabaret and piano bar community a few years ago, however, music has always been an important part of her life. When she is not teaching Computer Science, Cristina dedicates herself to singing with joy and passion. Over the years, she has performed along some great Chicago pianists in open mics, group shows, or solo, and as a featured vocalist at several live music venues. Currently, Cristina is working on a new solo project entitled Lucky Me!

Maryline Rollet

Joyeuse et mélancolique, mêlant la douceur de la balade, l’énergie du jazz et la sensualité de la bossa-nova, Maryline nous embarque avec enthousiasme — en français, en anglais et en brésilien — dans son univers touchant et sensible. Elle se produit régulièrement en duo, trio, quartet, solo, sur les scènes des cafés, restaurants, clubs jazz, théâtres et aussi dans le métro parisien. Le répertoire chanson, jazz, bossa nova — principalement de reprises — est teinté d’humour et de poésie. Elle a participé à la première Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion à Paris en 2017.

Joyful and melancholy, mixing the sweetness of the ballad, the energy of jazz and the sensuality of bossa nova, Maryline brings us along enthusiastically—in French, English and Brazilian Portuguese—in her touching and sensitive universe. She regularly performs in duet, trio, quartet, solo, at cafes, restaurants, jazz clubs, theaters and also in the Paris metro. Her repertoire of standards is tinged with humor and poetry. She participated in the first Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in Paris in 2017 and in Chicago in 2018.

Hailing from the beach of Mississippi and receiving his BFA in Acting, Kiki moved to Chicago and never looked back. As a member of The Cabaret Project he has performed, costumed, staged and produced. Thanks to TCP, he has been able to hone his professional craft, as well as create an awesome family. He is a founding member of Feathered Beaus, and as a solo performer can be seen all over Chicago. Thank you to the entire cabaret family – you mean more to me than words can express.

Barb was the winner of the 2018 Skokie Idol Contest. She has sung in shows at Davenport’s, Underground Wonder Bar, Rosa’s Lounge, Chief O’Neill’s and the Cliff Dwellers Club. Her powerful alto voice is well-suited to jazz, blues, and folk music as well as cabaret. She is a board member of Working in Concert and an active volunteer organizer of the Cabaret Connexion. Barb started her career as a folk singer, playing guitar and singing at coffee houses and in hootenannies. She also serves on the board of Working In Concert.

David Stephens

David was first introduced to the world of magic at age nine when he discovered magic books in the school library. By age twelve, he was performing professionally for shows and parties around New Jersey. At age 25, he attended “clown school” and became one of the region’s best-known professional African-American clowns, performing at private shows and corporate grand openings for Verizon Wireless, KFC, and Pathmark supermarkets. He moved to Chicago in 2014. With the support of his spouse Dan Johnson, he has become an avid singer. A frequent participant in SongShop, his musical influences lean towards jazz, pop and R&B . . . with a touch of Broadway. He has performed at showcases and open mics around Chicago. In 2016, he debuted in both Chicago Cabaret Professional’s Strut Your Stuff showcase and their 2017 Merry Measures holiday fundraiser. He participated in the Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in 2018. In 2019, he premiered his first solo show The Times of My Life at Davenport’swith musical director, Mark Burnell, which incorporated both music and magic. His next show, Soulful 70’s, Sounds is in development.

Christine Steyer

Christine Steyer, soprano, has distinguished herself as an artist of great versatility. In addition to being the recent recipient of seven national performance awards including the 2018 American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award and 2011 Johnny Mercer Award, Steyer has received acclaim for her portrayals of the title role in Madama Butterfly and Violetta in La Traviata. Since 2000, she has sung as a chorister and in several small roles in over 40 productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago. A frequent recitalist, Steyer sang several concerts of Russian and American music with pianist Philip Morehead and concerts of Spanish music with guitarist Brandon Acker.

Steyer seeks many innovative ways to keep classical vocal music relevant in today’s world. As a proponent of new works, she collaborated with numerous poets and musicians to publish Six Songs for Soprano and is currently collaborating with Jean-Claude Orfali on a book of original cabaret songs. Since 2005, Steyer has brought classical music to 23,000 youth in underserved areas with Bellissima Opera Outreach, an organization that she founded. Additionally, Steyer is the President of the new arts alliance, Working In Concert as well as the Artistic Director of one of its major initiatives: Bellissima Opera, the primary goal of which is the realization of The Transcendence Triptych—three new operas by acclaimed composer David Shenton that explore our shared humanity set to premiere in Chicago in June 2020. Recent and upcoming engagements include a UK Tour of the musical Persuasion, The Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in France and the Schubert Festival in Oak Park. Steyer teaches voice privately in Oak Park and is an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.

Lydia’s background is primarily in musical theater, although she also enjoys singing folk music, Tin Pan Alley songs and American standards, in additional to show tunes. Her favorite musical roles include Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Grandma Tzeitl in Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and Dot, a Goose, in Honk! This is her fourth Cabaret Connexion, so she is not a newcomer to cabaret anymore, but still a novice. Lydia also plays a major volunteer role managing design and communication tasks for Working In Concert.

Sue started singing and playing the ukelele at eight years old. She performed at camp and had fun. At ten, she learned to play the guitar and sang and performed folk songs whenever she had the chance. In high school, she continued to sing, play guitar and sing folk music. In the high school chorus, she performed the “Messiah,” and other classical and non-classical pieces. She has studied voice with Louise Cloutier. She has sung at Cyrano’s, the Jazz Showcase, Buddy Guy’s Legends, the Beat Kitchen and the Abbey and added Café Universel in Paris when she joined the Singers Jazz Workshop last June. She is currently studying voice with David Edelfelt.

Graduated in Paris in classical and jazz accordion, Wilfried Touati participates in all types of projects across musical borders, from solo to symphony orchestra, as musician, arranger and composer. In 2018, he formed the Wilfried Touati Quartet to play his compositions in a jazz aesthetic. Its first album Voyage was released in November 2021 by the label Jazz Family. This experience led him to create duets with oboist Guillaume Retail and Christelle Raquillet on flute and vocals.

Called “very charismatic”, “a lover of life” and a “superb communicator”, Michele wrote the book Happy Girl Michele: Tales of a True Renaissance Woman. She is a life story specialist, licensed clinical social worker, a long time public speaking instructor at Columbia College, a performance artist, watercolorist and singer. Her passion while singing is infectious and you can catch her doing a little dance as well. She sings often in recitals, concerts and open mics including at Davenport’s , Petterino’s and Kingston Mines. She recently began performing in the duo of Michele and Cliff. In addition she is producing a “Ladies Nite Showcase of Women” to present poems and songs about love, loss and lust to premiere Fall 2022.