CPCx Chicago Conference Personnel 2018

This conference brings together the contributions of performers, speakers, teachers and coaches, writers and historians and fans for an essential conversation on the art of cabaret. Come meet each other!

Workshop and Master Class Leaders

Faith Prince, accompanied by Alex Rybeck

Faith Prince has been dazzling Broadway audiences since winning the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. She was most recently seen in Chicago in the musical version of First Wives Club and starred on Broadway Disaster! the Musical. Audience favorites include her irascible Miss Hannigan in the Broadway revival of Annie; A Catered Affair, Bells Are Ringing, Nick & Nora and the national tour of Billy Elliott.

In addition to innumerable television roles, Faith has concertized with the Boston Pops, Utah Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, and Philly Pops. Her original show Moving On played in Australia to rave reviews. She toured with Over the Rainbow, celebrating the centennial of Harold Arlen. Her award-winning A Leap of Faith was recorded at Joe’s Pub in New York. Faith opened our first Cabaret Connexion concert on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. faith-prince.com

Alex Rybeck
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.

Kyle is a Chicago-based cabaret entertainer, producer and club owner. Classically-trained as an opera singer at 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, corporations, 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 industry.www.cabaretproject.org

An acclaimed vocalist, Greta studied voice with famed Metropolitan Opera soprano Eileen Farrell, sings in eleven languages, and has performed throughout Europe, South America and North America. She toured France with her original production Paris Noir—American Jazz in Paris! Her current touring show is Motown—Pride of the Motor City!
Dr. Pope is a classical and musical theater vocal teacher for students of all ages at her studio and the Chicago High School for the Arts. Her students have won first place Musical Theater awards in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competitions among others. A member of SAG-AFTRA, she has organized some of the Chicago chapter’s gala performances, and for a number of years, has performed for the Actor’s Equity Spirit Awards, and has served as a Musical Director for Kings Island Amusement Park. She holds a Master of Music Degree and a Doctorate in Business Administration. The author of Music, Money & You: Managing the Business, Dr. Pope offers music business expertise and master classes, lectures and workshops on “Planning the Successful Concert Tour” as well as other topics.
Greta Pope produces and will be featured in the Paris Noir concert, presented by Greta Pope Entertainment, Inc. www.gretapope.com

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.” www.vocalpoweracademy.com

The magnet for many years at Chicago’s famed Pump Room, singer-pianist-composer Elizabeth Doyle has created, performed in, and has been musical director for an array of shows at Chicago’s major cabaret rooms and theaters. 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 lead the November 2 Songwriters Connexion concert and performs for several Razzle Dazzles. www.elizabethdoylemusic.com.

Megon McDonough

A founding member of the hit group, The Four Bitchin’ Babes, Megon McDonough has been singing and writing original songs since she was eleven! Seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show inspired her, and saved her from a life in the convent. (The nuns started recruiting early). She has fifteen solo albums to her credit and nine compilation CDs she is proud to be on. Her discography can be seen (and heard) at www.megonmegon.com. Her most recent one-woman show, Dedicated To The Ones I Love—Great Women Singers of the 50s, 60s & 70s, has audiences on their feet singing along as Megon honors sixteen of her favorite and most influential singers from Debbie Reynolds, the fab women of the British Invasion, to Janis Joplin. Her passion for presenting Musical Keynotes has her most excited. With her music, world-class voice, and true, humorous and heart-opening stories only an Irish lass could weave, she enchants and inspires audiences at corporate sales conferences, healthcare training retreats, and faith-based gatherings. Megon is proud to have joined the faculty at The Music Institute of Chicago to teach songwriting in the Rock and Roots program. www.musicinst.org

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]. [photo by Euphoria]

Founder and director of the former École du spectacle in Paris, Christian has been working on voice for forty years. “The voice is the most sensitive, meaningful and limpid instrument that speaks to us about us, the body, the spirit, the life, the senses.” His work is energetic and associated with the exploration of inner movement and displacement in space. It is specific to the development of the individual. His teaching, coaching, books, CDs all have the same goal, to allow everyone to explore and develop in him his possibilities of expression and development of his being. Christian will be featured in the Halloween Connexion concert. christianpages.eu

Clotilde has been working in theater and performing arts for 15 years. She has directed and played in various original musical comedies and multidisciplinary and trans-media acts such as Sur la route des Tziganes and Mr Jazz, mixing-up spoken words, music and dance. Most recently the duo Madeleine & Salomon and their project A woman’s journey, reinterpreting protest songs of American songstresses with free improvisations and dreamlike short films of a dancer’s “escapades”. She is about to release XXY, a cross-border collaboration between France, China and US, of multi-disciplinary performance, dance, videos and live music, which investigates the equilibrium or disequilibrium between feminine and masculine beyond genders, generations and borders. www.clotilderullaud.com

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, with Faith Prince, is co-directing our Showcase Finale on November 4. www.DaleCalandra.com

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 www.spiderjazz.com. Spider will perform in our Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome concert on October 30.

Paul L Martin is the foremost teacher and facilitator of cabaret in the UK. Based in London, Paul has worked for over 15 years in drama schools, acting centers and with clients on a one-to-one basis, as well as offering his own unique courses on the tenets and principles of this much misunderstood and often-maligned art-form. Paul is passionate about having cabaret recognized as a genre in its own right within the industry, and has been a campaigner and champion of the London Cabaret scene for over 20 years. Paul will be speaking on the “Future of Cabaret” at our roundtable November 3. paullmartin.com

Additional performers and speakers

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.com

Author/historian (and grand-nephew) of the turn-of-the-20th-century singer-songwriter Marcel Legay. Historien du chansonnier Marcel Legay (1851-1915).
Ex-professor of the University of Montpellier, Yves now specializes in the field of French songs of the “Cabarets Artistiques” of the Belle Époque (1880-1914), placing the cabaret song in the societal and artistic context of the era. His presentations are illustrated by the projection of original visual documents and the diffusion (recordings and live performance) of characteristic songs. His presentations include the life and work of his great-uncle, the Montmartre chansonnier Marcel Legay (1851-1915), the “Cabarets Artistiques” of the Belle Époque, and the comparison between Café-Concert and Cabaret Artistique. Since 2014 he has presented about thirty presentations in Paris and several cities in France.

Mark was a faculty member for ten years at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked with Dave Frishberg, Howie Mandel, Connie Francis, Louie Bellson, Ward Swingle, Rob Marshall, Blair Underwood, and Seth Myers. Mark performed in New York, Bern, Lausanne, Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Freiburg and Amsterdam. National anthem appearances include Soldier Field, United Center, Wrigley Field, and Comiskey Park. Discography: Summer Days & Dreamy Nights, Blues in the Night (with Anne Burnell), Christmas Piano, Cooler by the Lake. Locally Mark performs at the Signature Room and the Tortoise Club. “…silky smooth and highly polished” says the Chicago Sun Times. www.burnellmusic.com

Adam graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2016 with a Masters in History and a concentration in Modern American and cultural history. He has been contributing to the making of the documentary, Mister Kelly’s Chicago, as a researcher and project manager for the last two years.

An international opera singer for many years, Cynthia worked with such notables as Peter Brook, Trevor Nunn and Sir Simon Rattle. She was seen at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Broadway in Peter Brook’s La tragedie de Carmen and can be seen and heard in Trevor Nunn’s film of Porgy and Bess as Serena. Relatively new to cabaret, she is a frequent singer at Petterino’s Monday Night Live at with Denise McGowan and Beckie Menzie and at Davenport’s Piano Bar. She has also performed at the Skokie Theater, Victory Gardens, and the Park West with the Chicago Cabaret Professionals. She debuted her acclaimed cabaret shows, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, in 2017 and Bridge Over Muddied Waters in 2018.

Making comic music became an obsession for Clovis at age 11. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Le Mans. Upon arriving in Paris, he joined the jam sessions at the Slow Club, where he met Claude Luter, who became his clarinet teacher. He has performed at jazz rooms (La Huchette, Le Petit Journal) and toured with Haricots Rouges and Europe 1. Moustache engaged him at Cintra, Bilboquet and Meridien. His excessive musicopathy pushed him to invent new instruments. He has performed on his invented instruments at the Avignon Festival, Bobino, the Auditorium St-Germain-des-Près and many more. Radio France commissioned him to compose theme music for a ten-part series on bats. He composes for television and performs on a host of programs. His latest new musical-burlesque show Musicopathy, acute crisis or serious illness? comes in a children’s version for ages 7 to 77. www.clovislemusicopathe.com

Julia Cook-Ravel, a Portland, Oregon native, currently resides in the beautiful Canadian Province of Québec. In collaboration with Cheryl E. Grant, Julia was a producer and photographer on the multi-award winning film, John Strasberg: Accidentally On Purpose, and on their current documentary series, The Torchbearers that explores the magical world of cabaret. She has produced a number of national commercials with noted agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, as well as several independent films and music videos including Raising Flagg starring Alan Arkin and John Mayer Trio’s Who Did You Think I Was directed by Gus Van Sant. She is currently in the final stages of post production on John Strasberg and Cheryl E. Grant’s film collaboration Adams’ Apples, a modern adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

Our favorite bassist grew up in Champaign, Illinois where he received his BA in music from the University of Illinois. Between 1979-82, he toured with Earl “Fatha” Hines and settled in Chicago where he is first-call bassist for live music of all types, teaching and recording. He worked regularly with Marian McPartland, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein and Judy Roberts in the Midwest. He has also played with Phil Woods, Red Rodney, Ben Vereen, Cheri Lewis, and Harry Belafonte. He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival several times. He has taught at Illinois Benedictine College, North Central College, College of DuPage, and DePaul University. www.jimcoxbass.com

Described by the Chicago Tribune as a “…tour de force of cabaret, opera, and jazz,” Hilary has performed to acclaim at venues throughout the Midwest, as well as touring to LA, NYC and London. She is celebrated both for her inspired take on traditional cabaret fare—Hollywood & Broadway: a Fine Romance, Setting New Standards—and for pushing the boundaries of what that fare can be—My Fair Audrey: a Musical Tribute to Audrey Hepburn, Laughing Matters: the Life & Laughs of Carol Burnett. Carol Burnett calls Hilary “the whole package.” Hilary’s debut solo CD, Taking Flight, was named “Cabaret/Folk CD of the Year” by Cabaret Hotline. Beyond performing, Hilary is a well-respected vocal instructor and coach for how to build your career in cabaret. She is also the founder/director of Acts of Kindness Cabaret, a non-profit organization which has raised over $300,000 for local charities, all through cabaret performance. Her newest show, Songs That Almost Got Away, debuts in September 2018 at Davenport’s in Chicago. Visit www.hilaryannfeldman.com

Cabaret singer Cindy Firing, recently appeared at Dino’s Backstage in Philadelphia where she performed her solo cabaret show, Brass Ring. The show originated in Chicago as part of the Andrew Lidgus Salon Series. A member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Cindy has had the pleasure of appearing at Davenport’s, as well as Jazz at the Bistro and KDHX Stage in St. Louis. In May, she performed with pianist Kenneth Grigg in his salon series presented by Mulberry Concerts. Founder of “Hush”, Cindy created a cabaret series dedicated to intimate cabaret evenings showcasing everything from abridged operas to revues of the Great American Songbook. Critics agree it’s nothing to keep quiet about! Earlier this year, she appeared with the Chicago Cabaret Professionals at Victory Gardens Theater as they took a look back at Broadway twenty years ago, and again at Park West for their annual gala. She looks forward to bringing her show back to Chicago next year.

Cheryl Grant

Director, actress and writer Cheryl E. Grant is the director of the multi-award-winning film, John Strasberg: Accidentally On Purpose with producer Julia Cook and writer/producer Seth Friedman. Cheryl has collaborated with actor/singer Buck Dietz on many of his acts and the MAC Award-winning Thou Swell Thou Witty Thou Rogers and Hart. Their friendship and collaboration led Cheryl into the magical world of cabaret and inspired the documentary The Torchbearers, which has been many years in the making and is a deep labor of love. The film has been developed with the support of Donald Smith and the Mabel Mercer Foundation; in turn, a percentage of the film’s proceeds will go to the Mabel Mercer Foundation in support of cabaret artists and the great champion of cabaret Donald Smith. Some of Cheryl’s more recent film and theater projects include starring in Adams’ Apples, John Strasberg’s modern adaptation of The Cherry Orchard with the Accidental Repertory Theater at the Living Theater in New York (for which she is currently co-developing a film, as well). “It has been a privilege to work with the brilliant artistry of Peter Trilling and David Sicotte among other fantastic artists in the US and Paris who have captured these captivating performers and entrepreneurs so beautifully.”

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 20-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 instigated the founding of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals in 1998 and is prone to doing something similar for France with our French team of cabaret colleagues. www.workinginconcert.org

In a city brimming with classic blues and jazz divas, Lynne Jordan stands apart. Her talent so dazzled the Second City that the late Chicago film critic, Roger Ebert, declared her his “favorite diva.” Backed by her sizzling band The Shivers, Lynne brought her special brand of storytelling, raw humor and performance to City Winery, New York and Atlanta with her sold-out show, A Musical Tribute to Nina Simone. Lynne came from a family of church-going singers in Dayton, Ohio and was singled out to star in school musicals. Arriving at Northwestern University, Lynne changed her major from journalism to theater and has been performing non-stop ever since. She performed as Chicago’s Arts Ambassador in Moscow and Kyiv and has graced stages throughout Europe and South America and is currently featured in the Jazz Opera, Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy by French composer Isabelle Olivier (returning to Paris for a third tour in June 2016). She has two CDs and is featured on recordings by Tom Waits, Urge Overkill and several compilations, most notably a tribute to Janis Joplin: Blues Down Deep: Songs of Janis Joplin which also featured Etta James, Otis Clay, Taj Mahal and Koko Taylor. She is currently work-shopping her one-woman show called Deconstructing the Diva: A Night of Story-Telling and Music with Lynne Jordan. lynnejordan.com

Jeremy Kahn is one of Chicago’s busiest pianists, dividing his time between jazz venues, pit orchestras, and recording and teaching studios. He graduated from New England Conservatory of Music, then spent twelve years in New York as a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, and with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (led by Jon Faddis). He has performed on stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Branford Marsalis, the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and on screen with Madonna, Mary Wilson and Johnny Crawford. Jeremy has played at Chicago’s major theaters, for shows like Wicked, Spamalot, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Aida. He is currently a faculty member of Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago. He has been a featured performer at the Chicago, Hyde Park and Poznan (Poland) Jazz Festivals, and a featured guest on the radio shows of Studs Terkel and Marian McPartland. Jeremy is a 2014 honoree of the Chicago Musicians Union Dal Sagno Club. www.kahnman.com

The iconoclastic Karen Kohler was born in Berlin, raised on Long Island and spent 15 years in Texas where in 2000 she traded in a fulfilling position in top management at Whole Foods Market for the chancy life of a nightclub singer in New York City. Today she is the acknowledged authority in the European cabaret arts in New York as singer, founding producer of the international ensemble, Kabarett Kollekitf, and sought-after cabaret director and historian. As solo artist, she has performed in cabarets, concert halls, consulates and embassies in the US, Europe, England, Australia, India and the Caribbean, crossbreeding a decadent range of theatrical and musical styles—from jazz and Delta blues to classical, rock-folk and cabaret—in six languages. Her artistry has earned her all major New York cabaret awards including Nightlife, BroadwayWorld, MAC and twice the Backstage Bistro. In 2007, she and husband Robert MacLean established the Peter E. Kohler Scholarship in Cabaret Performance at Long Island University where the two met as college students. A decade later, it is still the only collegiate scholarship for the cabaret arts. Karen is a sought-after performance and creativity coach, guiding all kinds of artists in finding their voice and following their calling. Web: karenkohler.com Blog: artoftheboards.wordpress.com

Mylène has played a key role in organizing the 2017 Paris conference and rallying the French delegation for Chicago 2018.

French actress, dancer, street and cabaret singer, and creator, 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.

At a very early age Frieda Lee was introduced to the early vocal styles of Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, and other singers of the 40s and 50s. She has embraced the musical legacy of main stream composers such as Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Ellington, Legrand, and more recently, Manilow. Her performance is a virtual excursion through the great American musical repertoire of adult contemporary music and mainstream jazz. Since her debut at the Chicago’s Fantasy Lounge two decades ago, Frieda has performed at every major showcase for jazz in Chicago’s rich and diverse musical milieu. She is currently in demand to perform with some of the top-notched ensembles such as the Marcin Januszkiewicz Trio, the Jeff Stitely Ensemble, the John Burnett Swing Orchestra and the Travis Wesley Trio of Springfield, Illinois.

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 vocalist has performed jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues in the U.S. and abroad, from duo ensembles to 18+ piece big bands! Her first major CD, So Many Stars was met with critical acclaim. Calendar and more information can be found by visiting www.avalogan.com

David Marienthal

David is a Chicago native and son of George Marienthal, the owner of Mister Kelly’s, London House and The Happy Medium. After a career in architecture and education, David has spent the last few years bringing his family’s history to life though his project, Mister Kelly’s Chicago.

A veteran of the Chicago scene, Holly McGuire brings her own unique interpretation to jazz, pop, and blues. In the 1970s, Holly was the opener at the Chicago Playboy Club for comedians and the famous Minsky’s Burlesque. In the 1980s, she began playing a distinct style of Chicago-inspired music and appeared at outdoor festivals, dinner cruises on Lake Michigan, corporate events, weddings, and Andy’s Jazz Club, appearing on the same bill with Roberta Flack and Dave Koz. Holly joined the Steve Sandner Quartet and toured many Midwestern resorts and clubs, and together they recorded and released a CD Catch 38, covering contemporary jazz standards and the title “Catch 38” with music and lyrics by Holly. She was a part of the Ken Arlen Orchestra and Jeff Stitely Orchestra, and wowed an audience of over 300,000 at Poland’s Woodstock Music Festival. Now singing with Chicago Bar Association Choir, she soloed at St. James Cathedral, Harold Washington Library, Lincoln Academy of Illinois Ceremony, with performances at Fourth Presbyterian’s Jazz service and Unity Chicago with a Jazz Showcase appearance in 2017.

Née d’une maman martiniquaise et d’un papa breton, c’est à Nice que Françoise Miran choisit de faire vivre sa passion de la musique et des chansons. En 1980, Françoise Miran crée Les Alizés, une association qui allie actions culturelles et sociales, produisant de nombreux artistes dans les quartiers de la ville. En 1984, elle organise le Festival Brésilien de Nice, qui réunit plus de 25 000 spectateurs conquis aux Arènes de Cimiez, et l’année suivante à Juan Les Pins. Ce sera ensuite au tour d’un Festival Créole aux Seychelles en 1991, puis d’un Festival de Percussions à Châteauvallon, en 1992, 1993 et 1994. Elle crée le Festival Jazz Off du Nice Jazz Festival, en 1994, 1195 et 1996. En 2001, elle fait venir de Cuba Compay Segundo, membre fondateur du mythique Buena Vista Social Club. Elle a été aussi la gardienne azuréenne d’une tradition d’une certaine chanson française en organisant la venue de ses amis : Moustaki, Ferré et autre Nougaro…en créant de nombreux spectacles dans lesquels elle chante Ferré, Kosma, Brassens, Barbara, Bruant, Prévert, Aragon. Elle a aussi rendu hommage aux femmes avec Femmes de Paroles et a récemment monté Chansons à la carte : un copieux menu dans lequel nous sommes invités à choisir les chansons que nous souhaitons savourer. D’autres spectacle : Escales où elle présente ses chansons, la Grande guerre a sa musique, Une histoire du cabaret, et à l’hommage à Kosma, un festival de chansons françaises et le Prix Joseph Kosma.

Born to a Martinican mother and a Breton father, Françoise Miran lives in Nice. In 1980, Françoise created Les Alizés, an association that combines cultural and social action, and developes artists from the city’s neighborhoods. In 1984, she organized the Brazilian Festival of Nice, which was attended by more than 25,000 spectators at the Arena of Cimiez, and was repeated the next year in Juan Les Pins. In 1991, she organized the Creole Festival in Seychelles, and a Percussion Festival in Châteauvallon, in the following three years. She created the Jazz Off Festival of the Nice Jazz Festival, in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 2001, she brought Cuba Compay Segundo, founding member of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. She also organized French song performances with friends: Moustaki, Ferré and Nougaro, creating many shows in which she sings Ferré, Kosma, Brassens, Barbara, Bruant, Prévert, Aragon. She pays tribute to women songwriters with Femmes de Paroles and has recently created Songs à la carte. Other recent shows: Stopovers—a personal journey of her own compositions, Music of the Great War (14-18), A History of Cabaret, and a festival in tribute to Joseph Kosma along with creation of the Joseph Kosma Award.

Bob Moreen

Pianist and singer, Bob has been featured in virtually every type of entertainment venue as soloist, accompanist and ensemble member including the last heydays of Punchinello’s and Mister Kelly’s. He has worked with entertainers such as Peter Palmer, Greta Keller, the Incomparable Hildegarde, and Shirley Jones, and is sought after as music director, accompanist and coach by Chicago’s favorite cabaret singers. The Chicago Sun-Times calls him, “A special, eclectic piano player.” The Chicago Tribune says, “an impressive singer in his own right…the complete entertainer.” Bob’s theatrical credits include work at Chicago’s Goodman Theater and the former Body Politic. His one-man shows include I Won’t Dance, the songs of Fred Astaire and An Evening with Tom Lehrer. He is the 2009 recipient of Chicago Cabaret Professionals’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jean-Claude will serve the CPCx conference as a principal pianist in master classes and concerts. He has participated in many international events and piano concerts around the world. Pianist, composer, conductor, Jean-Claude comes from a family of musicians. For many years he has played regularly in Paris at venues such as Le George V, le Plaza-Athénée et le Bristol. He appears frequently at the oldest Parisian artistic cabaret, Au Lapin Agile. He accompanied Claudia Hommel’s master class for 20 musical theater students at the École Professionnel de Comédie Musicale in 2016 and joined Elizabeth Doyle as principal pianist for the first Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in 2017 in Paris. He performs as a solo pianist, as part of small jazz groups and also leads Parisian Big Band “BB15”. He has composed and performed for film as well. jeanclaude.orfali.free.fr

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 thirteen. 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.

Jacques Protat is the author of the only academic study ever made of contemporary American cabaret singing—in English or in French. He has recently rewritten his 2004 PhD thesis into Le Cabaret new-yorkais, théâtre intime du Great American Songbook, (426 pages, to be published in September 2018 by L’Harmattan in Paris. In it he describes what a small artistic community in the US simply calls ‘cabaret’. He analyses both the cabaret scene and the art form, its history, socioeconomics and aesthetics. Based on hundreds of sources, he provides a comprehensive definition of “New-York Cabaret”. A specific performing art form born in the 1980s in Manhattan, New-York cabaret combines self-expression with the curation of a cultural heritage. The actor as curator of the Great American Songbook. Conservation through creation. Dr. Protat teaches at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. He is also a singer-songwriter of jazz songs, as James Porter.

Jacques Protat est l’auteur de la seule étude universitaire jamais publiée, en français ou en anglais, sur le cabaret américain de chanson d’aujourd’hui. Il a récemment remanié sa thèse de 2004 pour publier chez L’Harmattan Le Cabaret new-yorkais, théâtre intime du Great American Songbook (426 pages, septembre 2018). Il y décrit ce qu’une petite communauté artistique américaine appelle tout simplement le ‘cabaret’, en tant que scène artistique et en tant que forme de spectacle vivant. Il analyse son histoire, son organisation socioéconomique et ses principes esthétiques. A partir de centaines de sources — entretiens, livres, médias sociaux, articles de presse — il apporte une définition complète de ce qu’il a choisi de nommer “Cabaret new-yorkais”. Genre spécifique de spectacle vivant né dans les années 1980 à Manhattan, le cabaret new-yorkais associe expression personnelle et transmission d’un patrimoine culturel. L’acteur en tant que passeur. La conservation par la création. Jacques Protat enseigne à l’université de Bourgogne. Il est également auteur-compositeur interprète de chanson jazz, sous le nom de James Porter.www.JacquesProtat.com

Johnny is an internationally-celebrated singer-songwriter, pianist, Broadway veteran and recording artist. He is described by Stephen Holden from The New York Times as an entertainer “who has show business in his bones [with] fused elements of Billy Joel, Peter Allen and Johnny Mercer.” Johnny tours world-wide for the U.S. Department of State, including performances with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Grodno Jazz Festival in Minsk, Belarus. He has earned New York’s Nightlife, Bistro and MAC awards for performances at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, and other premiere clubs. His songwriting has been recognized with Billboard and ASCAP Foundation awards. He doubled as Music Director and piano man for Liza Minnelli performances/tours and starred in and wrote the song “I Would Never Leave You” for Liza’s Tony Award-winning Liza’s At The Palace. www.JohnnyRodgers.com

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—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. www.marylinerollet.com

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, June Sawyers has written more than 25 books on topics ranging from Scotland to Springsteen, Dylan to the Beatles, and, most recently, Cabaret FAQ: All That’s Left to Know about the Broadway and Cinema Classic (Applause Books). [June and Charles Troy have collaborated to create the Cabaret Connexion’s first Razzle-Dazzle on the history of cabaret in Chicago.] Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune (where she wrote the “After Hours” nightlife column), the San Francisco Chronicle, Stagebill, The Common Review, Scottish Tradition, New City, Third Coast Review, and other publications. She is the founder of the Phantom Collective, an arts group that presents dramatic readings, theatre pieces, and music programs around town. She is an associate producer of the forthcoming documentary on the Highland Clearances and the Scottish Diaspora, Voices over the Water and author of the forthcoming Half-Pint Guide to Craft Breweries: Chicagoland (Roaring Forties Press) and co-editor of the forthcoming Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen at Age 70 (Rutgers University Press). She teaches at the Newberry Library. [photo by Theresa Albini]

Philip is an active performer in Chicago cabaret and theatre. Some of his favorite roles include John Jasper in Drood, Cable in South Pacific, Harry in Flora, the Red Menace, Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Prince in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He has appeared at Court Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Illinois Theatre Center, Theatre Building Chicago, Athenaeum Theatre, Circle Theatre, the Chicago Humanities Festival and Light Opera Works. His New York credits include Merkin Hall and the Kaye Playhouse. He has also appeared in the Edinburgh Fringe and on tours in the US and Europe. His own award winning works as a composer/songwriter have been performed in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and in Europe. He is a co-creator and actor in the musical web series Atonality which may be seen on his YouTube channel. To listen to his music or purchase a CD, visit iTunes or philipseward.com.

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.

Participating Singers

Helene Alter-Dyche

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.

Poète auteure de Femme-Pistil, éditée aux éditions Cabaret de l’Harmattan, j’ai mis en musique plusieurs de mes textes. J’ai un répertoire varié allant de sujets drôles et classés “tabous” par une certaine société bien coincée, jusqu’aux questions les plus graves. Mes textes sont engagés et féministes. Je suis également clowne à l’hôpital, comédienne de théâtre d’improvisation et éducatrice jeunes enfants pour une association.
Poet author of Femme-Pistil, published by the Collection Cabaret de l’Harmattan, Coralie has set to music many of her lyrics. Her repertoire varies from funny topics and those classified as “taboo” by a certain uptight society, to the most serious of subjects. Her texts are engaged and feminist. She is also a hospital clown, improvisational theater actress, and early childhood educator.

Actor-Director-Musician, a multi-hyphenate before she was out of grade school, Arlene recruited friends to do variety shows in her basement. “I wrote the scripts, built the set, auditioned all the acts. Ever since I played the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg in a school production of Jack and the Beanstalk, the stage was mine.” She sang in the church choir and local gospel groups. “After church on Sundays I would come home and listen to blues and jazz with my father while my brother played and my mother sang as she made Sunday dinner.” She’s performed solo shows with Bobby Schiff: Just a Girl and a Piano, Jazz Bird, To Carmen, with Love (a tribute to Carmen McRae) and Dedicated to Duke—The Songs of Duke Ellington (the new edition returns to Davenport’s on November 9!) With Ruth Fuerst and Carol Weston, she has appeared in Life …Snapshots in Song and Thank You for the Music. She is a member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals and has performed in CCP and Midwest Cabaret Conference showcases, and in several SongShop Live concerts.

CPCx 2018 Roxane headshot

Roxane Assaf-Lynn is a classically trained mezzo with a taste for the American Songbook. A transition to cabaret singing fueled her creative ardor through the ’90s, and now she uses her skills in journalism and promotion to raise the volume on the musical expressions of other artists, including articles in the Huffington Post and work as promoter and publicist. Born and raised in New Orleans, Roxane comes from a musical family that spans two continents. A university-year in Paris forged a life-long link to people and projects there. Roxane’s recent concentration on social networking, community outreach and media relations combined with her own background in performance makes her a sought-after consultant and artistic collaborator.

Sue Berke

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 pre-teen, 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. Theatrical in performance, Sue loves to connect with her audience. She participates in Claudia Hommel’s SongShop whenever possible, joined the Singers Jazz Workshop in Paris in 2015 and the first Cabaret Connexion in Paris 2017, with stops at the Café Universel.

“A travaillé avec différents groupes. Il est conteur d’histoire en patois, imitateur (de Bourvil), auteur, compositeur, interprète. Il prépare un nouveau spectacle en solo.”
Henri has performed with many different groups. He is a storyteller in patois, imitator (of comic singer Bourvil) author, composer, performer. He is preparing a new solo show.

Hollis Bolton

Hollis has sung in Paris for a predecessor to the Cabaret Connexion. She is active in two musical bands (playing the ukelele, as well) and is on the go at various jam sessions about town.

Caryn is a Chicago-based professional singer. As a vocalist and board president of Acts of Kindness Cabaret (www.aokcabaret.org), she is excited to share the art of cabaret while helping local not-for-profit organizations. Caryn is a member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and loves singing in their December Merry Measures show which raises money for Heart to Art. In addition to cabaret singing, she is the 1st Soprano and a founding member of the female a cappella quartet, Route 66 (@Route66sings). A member of Actors Equity, Caryn has been seen in leading and supporting roles at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre, The Athaneum, and the former Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Her performing has included teaching healthy lifestyle choices thru song and dance to Chicago area inner city youth with School Street Movement and singing and dancing in an American music review in Elspe, Germany. She holds an MFA in vocal performance and pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University. Caryn lives in Wilmette with her husband, Craig and their two daughters, Anna and Gina. Caryn’s solo CD, Journey, is about her path to motherhood and is available at her live events.

Jeanie Carroll

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 Adeline’s barbershop small chorus.

Martha Crawford

Martha has brought three solo cabaret shows to the Society Cabaret in San Francisco. She’s a founding member of Lovin’Harmony, a close-harmony vintage vocal jazz trio presenting 30+ shows a year throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. www.lovinharmonytrio.com. She was a ProTrack participant of the Saint Louis Cabaret Conference in 2016 (working with Faith and Alex in 2015 and 2016), has attended the Stanford Jazz Festival Vocal Intensive, and multiple years of Jazz Camp West, exploring her repertoire primarily of Great American Songbook standards with a jazz-influenced interpretation.

Vocalist/actor/wardrobe mistress/teacher/substitute teacher by day/theater professional by night. Evelyn has been with Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater for more than twenty-five years, singing, dancing, acting and most recently Miraculous Wardrobe Mistress. With more than twenty musical productions to her credit, she has portrayed the legendary jazz great Ella Fitzgerald in four different productions. Evelyn serves in the music ministry of her home church, Covenant Faith Church of God and is a member of Choral Thunder Vocal Ensemble.

Terrence Patrick Davis

Patrick loves to croon and belt, whether it’s jazz, cabaret, rock, pop or R&B. A former church choir singer, his admiration for singing was reawakened in 2003 thanks to his vocal instructor and mentor Elsa Harris and support from his family. He performed in Harris House of Music’s Christmas, gospel and jazz recitals in the 2000s. The late musician and teacher Gwen Pippin inspired Patrick to sing out his “crazy” by performing in many of her We-Haven’t-Quit-Our-Day-Jobs-Yet recitals. He has formed a new musical partnership with musician Sami Scot and their 2015 Still Crazy After All These Years. Patrick continues to perform with Sami and has sung in many of her Three Minutes in the Spotlight shows. He regularly sings at Davenport’s Piano Bar open mic and similar venues. He is working on his own solo show … stay tuned!

Susan E. Dennis

Susan has been singing Musical Theater, jazz and classical songs for 20 years professionally. Her repertoire includes Kurt Weill, Sondheim, Bernstein, Mozart, Strauss, Gilbert & Sullivan, Villa -Lobos. She joins us around the rehearsal schedule for Harper College’s production of Follies in which she will play Heidi Schiller. By day she teaches Vocal Techniques at Elmhurst College, Harper College, is choir director at Lord of Life Lutheran church, and Artistic Director of Bravissimo Vocal Ensemble.

Drew has been playing piano since he was six, and performs as wedding musician, church organist, keyboardist for rock and blues bands, and solo artist. For over 20 years Drew has been playing with the 17-piece big band Glen Ellyn Jazz Ensemble which he took over directing in 2004. The GEJE performs in the Glen Ellyn parks during the summer. He also attends Tritone Jazz Camp in Door County where he has ventured from behind the piano to stand at the mic and sing. He continues this practice at open mics around town and now as a new member of SongShop. His CD Tonight the Moon Belongs to You is now available.

Louise Gale

Louise has chosen to enjoy her retirement as a saloon singer. At the University of Detroit she sang with the chorus’s 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 can often be found around town at various venues where they might let her share the mic for a while.

Deborah Good loves travelling the world and singing in French and Spanish. Last fall she was thrilled to perform in Paris as part of the Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion. During her recent trip to Chile she was part of an international vocal ensemble, and this summer, a trip to Spain gave her another chance to perform her Spanish repertoire. A member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Deborah was a featured performer in the Strut Your Stuff Showcase at Davenport’s Cabaret this past spring. Other vocal performances include the CCP Merry Measures Holiday Show at Davenport’s and a Summer Cabaret Connexion Concert at the Lake House.

Ruth Fuerst

By day, Ruth is a practicing psychotherapist. By night, for the last eight years she has dispensed her wisdom on the cabaret stage, appearing in many group shows, among which are Life is… and Thank You For the Music, both co-created and performed with Carol Weston and Arlene Armstrong; several CCP Holiday Cabarets; several Rotary Club Benefit Cabarets; and most recently three solo shows at Davenport’s including Wake Up and Dream, The Carousel of Time, and You’ve Gotta Be Kidding: A Cabaret Act of Resistance. She studies voice with David Edelfelt and The Art of Song Interpretation (SongShop) with Claudia Hommel.

Lynda Gordon

Lynda studied theater at Northwestern, graduated with a BA in Education from U of M and then received an MBA from Loyola. Before returning to her first love—the Stage—she enjoyed being a parent, a travel consultant and a fundraiser for the Children’s Research Foundation. Since 2012, she has appeared in several SongShop Live concerts, including her solo set Love Notes—a Musical Memoir; Rotary Club productions at the Polo Café, and in the Chicago Cabaret Professional’s Strut Your Stuff and Merry Measures at Davenport’s. In October 2015, she debuted her cabaret show Strangers in the Night, accompanied by Bob Moreen at PianoForte Chicago. She returns to PianoForte with a new show Are We There Yet?

Carrie joined Claudia Hommel’s SongShop in September 2010 the week after retiring from her position as a Staff Attorney with the U.S. District Court. Since then, she has appeared in shows at Cyrano’s Bistrot, the Jazz Showcase, the Daystar Center, DePaul School of Music, and Piano Forte. She also performs in Claudia’s Sunday Salon Series. Carrie made her debut at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret in the Chicago Cabaret Professional’s 2011 Holiday Cabaret and appeared in CCP’s Strut Your Stuff in 2014. She performed in the Rotary Near South’s benefits Broadway on the Cusp! in 2013 and in Broadway for the Hoi Polloi in 2014. In November 2013, Carrie performed her one-woman show Songs in the Key of Oz at the Daystar Center. She sings in the University of Chicago Chorus and serves on the Board of the Chicago Children’s Choir. She was President of the International Wizard of Oz Club from 2010-2017.

Dan is a bi-coastal regional theater actor relocated to Chicago. Trained professionally at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, he performed on the West Coast and on tour before a stint of nearly two decades based in New York City. His musical roles include Franklin in 1776, Mooney in Anything Goes, and Charles in Pippin. He toured nationally with John Davidson in the Music Man and appeared off Broadway as the comic lead in the 1988 revival of Leave It to Me by Cole Porter. He is known locally for his cabaret act, Wilde & Woolley: Cole Porter and his cohorts.

Mary Joyce

Singing in choirs and solo since childhood, Mary was a member of the political parody singers The Capitol Steps in the 1980s. She has sung at numerous piano bars, weddings and most recently in SongShop Live concerts. She was a participant in Paris last year with the Cabaret Connexion.

Staci Singer Kelley

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.

Popular singer in training, Diane-Aurore has sung at street dances for several years. Self-taught guitarist, she is working on her voice, interpretation and staging with the view toward creating her next solo show. Chanteuse de variété de formation, j’ai chanté dans des bal musette pendant quelques années. Guitariste autodidacte. Travail de la voix, de l’interprétation et du placement en vue d’un prochain spectacle solo.”

Actor, singer and licensed event planner, most recently Céline has been coached by Christian Pagès Founder and Director of the Ecole Supérieure du Spectacle in Paris. Selected for a song contest, she has professionally recorded the song The Junior Fairy by lyricist Jean-Louis Rizzoli and composer Patrick Pernet; and in duo a variety of songs (reggae, soul, R&B, pop and rap). Other disciplines she has practiced include violin performance at the conservatory level, figure skating, kickboxing, dance (classical, African, Zumba, Hip-hop) and working as a background actress on film and staged events.

Oana Odean

Oana’s cabaret experience began in 2013, when she joined Main Street Cabaret. The group is made of several singers who take turns singing gigs at cabaret venues such as Davenport’s Piano Bar, at restaurants and libraries. Their show themes change each time: from Seasons of Love, highlighting love songs and stories, to Villians We Love to Hate (villians in musicals and movies, that is). Most recently Oana joined Carmeana Eberly’s Charis-Cale Cabaret. The inaugural show took place at Uptown Underground and highlighted eight singers, each choosing songs that have meant a lot to them over the years. In Oana’s case, “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home” made her fall in love with Judy Garland. She’s looking forward to producing and performing her own one-woman cabaret show.


Chanteuse, guitariste, auteure compositrice (écriture et musique), et comédienne, mon univers est illimité. Je puise les belles ressources culturelles du monde, tant au niveau traditionnelle qu’actuelle et me les approprie pour en faire un show. Le chant est pour moi un langage universel. Je suis sans cesse à la recherche d’effet vocale pour faire voyager et toucher mon public à travers le monde entier. Mes mots racontent, crient haut et fort les inégalités que tous les êtres subissent. Et je n’arrêterai point…
Singer, guitarist, songwriter (words and music), and actress, Sabrina says, “My universe is unlimited. I draw on the beautiful cultural resources of the world, both at the traditional and contemporary levels and I appropriate them to create a show. Singing is for me a universal language. I’m always looking for vocal effects to reach my audience and to take them around the world. My words tell, shout loudly the inequalities that all beings suffer. And I will never stop…”

Jeni Schellenberg

Jeni’s musical interests began is school when she played clarinet. She was selected after her senior year of high school for the All-State band at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Through the years, she has traveled to the Far East, parts of Canada and many of the 50 states as a member of several choirs and was a soloist and member of a women’s choir from the College of Lake County in a cultural exchange to China in 2013. She has her BA in Music Education from Northeastern Illinois University, a Masters of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has taught music in the public schools for 10 years. A classically trained singer, she has performed in the ensembles of Madama Butterfly, HMS Pinafore, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci and Die Fledermaus. This summer she played the part of Alice in The Secret Garden at P M & L theater in Antioch. Jeni is a voice and piano teacher. Recently introduced to Claudia Hommel’s SongShop and the Cabaret style, Jeni is looking forward to the journey ahead.

Marilena was born in Romania. From an early age, she had a special inclination toward the arts, but her true love was singing. As a child, she sang in her village church and school. At 17, she took voice classes in Bucharest and sang in school events, including an appearance on the national television music channel. At 19, her life went in a different direction (marriage, child) and at 36 years old, she emigrated to the United States to pursue her second passion: fashion, creating her own label and boutique Marlena Marée. However, wherever life has taken Marilena, her love for singing was always there and now years later she has decided to sing again, joining various piano bars in Chicago. She is taking classes at Old Town School of Folk Music, coaches with Elizabeth Doyle, and studies song interpretation with Claudia Hommel’s SongShop.

A retired magician/circus clown with 35 years experience, David is transitioning to a different performing art: singing. David specializes in jazz/pop/R&B songs and he has performed at showcases and open mics around Chicago.

Christine Steyer

Soprano Christine Steyer has distinguished herself as 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. A frequent recitalist, Steyer sang several concerts of Russian and American music. Christine seeks many innovative ways to keep classical vocal music relevant in today’s world. Steyer is the Founder/Artistic Director of Bellissima Opera, the outreach component of which has brought music to over 20,000 students in under-served areas. A proponent of new works, Christine collaborated with poets and musicians to publish Six Songs for Soprano and has commissioned several new works by today’s leading composers. Steyer recently sang for the Cuban Ambassador and was the featured artist for the American Opera Society Gala. Christine can be heard on the CD Caroline Myss’ Voice of the Sacred produced by SoundsTrue. Steyer frequently performs her one-woman cabaret show, So, You Want to Be a Diva?. Steyer teaches privately and at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.

Carol sang and learned to play the piano and violin at a very young age. For many years, she’s been a troubadour with guitar in hand, playing in schools and libraries. She’s also been heard at Davenport’s, Cyrano’s, The Jazz Showcase, or playing the piano bar at the Drake Hotel or the Carlton Club at the Ritz. A founding member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals, she has been able to live her dream of becoming a cabaret singer. She performs Life Is…Snapshots in Song and Thank You for the Music with Arlene Armstrong and Ruth Fuerst and most recently appeared with Don Hoffman at Davenport’s in I’ll Take Romance.

Michele Williams

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 adjunct faculty member at Columbia College, a performance artist, watercolorist and singer. Her passion while singing is infectious and you can often catch her doing a little dancing as well. She is a member of the Old Town School of Folk Music ’60s Ensemble and recently sang with the Faculty/Staff House Band at a Columbia College fundraiser. She sings often in recitals, concerts and open mics including at Petterino’s, Davenport’s, Kingston Mines and Monsignor Murphy’s.

Coordinators and volunteers

The Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion was founded in late 2016 by Claudia Hommel, Elizabeth Doyle and Lynne Jordan, with the indispensable aid of Mylène Launay in Paris.
For 2018, we have four Chicago coordinators—Claudia Hommel, Elizabeth Doyle, Greta Pope, Rebecca Toon—and the assistance of Barb Smith, Cappy Kidd, Lydia Stux, Kat Victoria. Our French correspondents are Yves Bertrand and Mylène Launay.

Susan joins the Cabaret Connexion team as outreach volunteer, French interpreter, and tour guide. Teacher of French, Spanish, English and reading, Susan is also an international consultant, cross-cultural trainer and presenter. Dr. Boldrey is a recipient of the Palmes Académiques with a doctorate from Northwester University in French and French-Canadian language and culture.

Cappy Kidd

Cappy, a Certified Energy Manager by day, is the go-to person and co-producer for fund-raising, outreach and logistics.

Greta Pope

Greta serves as a coordinator for the Connexion and producing the Paris Noir concert.

Barb Smith

Barb has appeared 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 was the 2018 winner of the Skokie Idol contest.
Barb is a recruiter/connector and works on logistics.

Lydia Stux

Lydia’s background is primarily in musical theater, although she also enjoys singing folk music, novelty Tin Pan Alley songs and American standards. Her favorite roles include Grandma Tzeitl in Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Twimble/Wally Womper in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Dot, a Goose, in Honk!, Yertle the Turtle in Seussical and most recently Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret. Her adopted twin sons provide fodder for her blog, Raising Romulus and Remus.
Lydia serves as our principal correspondent for grant applications, registration and logistics.

Rebecca Toon

Rebecca Toon has been teaching adults and kids at the Old Town School of Folk Music since 2004. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s in music from the University of Illinois, and is currently completing a Masters in communication sciences and disorders (speech language pathology) at Northwestern University with a primary interest in voice therapy. Her background as a vocalist is extremely varied, including musical theater, opera and classical solo work, choral work, and popular music. She has also worked as a vocal coach and director for musical and theatrical productions around Chicago. As a voice teacher, Rebecca believes in creating a solid foundation of technique and a firm understanding of how the voice works which can be applied to a variety of musical styles. As a guitarist, her interests and experience runs to old time, folk, country, and rock. Rebecca is our liaison to the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Kat Victoria

In addition to being a wonderful singer-actress, works for Broadway in Chicago by day and keeps our Facebook listings up to date by night.

We thank our other vounteers, translators and home-stay hosts:
Bev Livingston, Carol Backe, Charlie Orlowek, Dan Nichols, Dana Berkowitz, David Oskandy and Martha Garcia Barragan, Eileen Walvoord, John Cook, Marisa Alicea and Ann Stanford, Melanie Threatt, Nanci Chesek, Robert Baudry, Rose Nadolsky, Sylvette Nicolini, Tom Sapp, and four senior students from the Lycée Français.