Jonny is pleased to report that Bailiwick Repertory artistic director David Zak is doing well after recent surgery to remove numerous Joseph Jefferson citations from his arteries. The operation was a success, and doctors promised David he'd be able to play the piano as good as ever. However, he must follow a strict diet; he can only have chicken once a week. Meanwhile, the 2006 Pride Series continues at Bailiwick with Seduction, performed by the British troupe the Shamelessboyz Theatre Company ( through Sunday, July 9 ) . David says the show is all about sex, so it's probably too exciting for him to see just now.
Another show all about sex, Wicked, celebrated its first anniversary at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre on June 20, having played to nearly 1,000,000 Chicagoans, Midwesterners, witches, warlocks, wizards and others since it opened last year. Just kidding about the sex.
There's something new and something swank going on at the ol' Auditorium Theatre: they're turning it into an intimate cabaret. Well, not the entire 4,200-seat place—it would be rather difficult to make THAT intimate. The Audie People will redo the stage itself, which will host both entertainer and audience for Up Close and Personal with Susan Werner, Saturday, July 15, at 8 p.m.
For the event ( the second in a new series ) , the stage will be transformed into an intimate cabaret, with the limited audience sitting on stage at tables for six to enjoy the highly praised song stylings of Susan Werner. Born and bred on an Iowa farm, Werner eventually earned a degree in classical voice before turning her talents to popular music and cabaret. Her shows are described as brilliant, soulful and clever, and her recently released fourth CD, I Can't Be New, has been described as 'Carole King's Tapestry meets Ella Fitzgerald's Cole Porter Songbook.' For Up Close and Personal with Susan Werner, she will accompany herself on piano with a string bass sidekick. Tickets: 312-341-9668: $50-$75 ( drinks extra ) .
In more standard cabaret news, Alanda Coon brings Tramps Like Us, featuring the music of Bruce Springsteen, to the Speakeasy Supper Club, 1401 W. Devon, this month, with performances on Wed., July 19, at 8:30 p.m., and Fri., July 28, at 10 p.m. Coon gives The Boss a decidedly feminine perspective, with an emphasis on the lyrics one can't get when Springsteen himself is churning them out with a cranked-up band behind him. Coon is accompanied only by Mike Descoteaux on piano and Tim Meade on guitar. 773-338-0600; $10. Coon also will take Tramps Like Us to Katerina's, 1920 W Irving Park, on Tues., Aug. 15, at 9 p.m.; 773-348-7592; $5.
Babes With Blades, those chicks who really know how to rumble, are calling their newest escapade When Fairy Tales ... Attack! But don't get any ideas; they mean traditional fairy tales, as in once-upon-a-time and happily-ever-after stuff. Chicago's only female stage combat corps is taking familiar fairy-tale heroines and villains and giving us a taste of them up close and personal and fightin' mad. This special outdoors show will be offered three times only: July 11, 18 and 25 ( all at 8:15 p.m. ) at First Folio Shakespeare Festival, on the beautiful garden grounds of the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook. The Babes are worth the drive, as are the Peabody Estate gardens, especially if you bring a picnic to enjoy beforehand. The rules say you can't drink at Mayslake ( a DuPage County Forest Preserve ) but Jonny can assure you, based on vast personal experience, that everyone discreetly sips wine anyway. 630-986-8067; $15.Read more story below....
David Cerda, the creative genius behind Hell in a Handbag Productions, is looking for a collaborator and possible music director for the troupe's next show, Caged Dames, an original, new women-in-prison musical parody to be mounted this fall by Cerda. Think of this as a smarter version of American Idol or Rock Star, because Cerda's new partner could be YOU, dear reader, if you have the musical chops. Cerda says applicants should be able to create piano arrangements and transcribe music from lead sheets and vocal tracks. He welcomes head arrangers and cabaret/jazz improvisers. In addition to the glory that will make you the envy of your apartment building corridor, this is a paying gig. Interested? E-mail Cerda at email@example.com for more detailed information regarding music and timelines. Also, check out the company Web site, www.handbagproductions.org .