Highly Recommended ***** I just found a new spot in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. It is called the Uptown Underground, a quaint retro cabaret where you might feel that once you have gone down the cascading staircase, you have not only reached the lower level of this building, but may have gone back in time. I never new that this space existed. From what I learned this evening, this is a busy spot with different types of shows every night and it has been s special place for the “Gay Community” for years. Based on the performance that I witnessed tonight, this is the perfect venue for cabaret and the show I saw tonight, although geared for this community, had an audience that was composed of all walks of life. As it should be!
The show, presented by Pride Films and Plays, is “Judy and Liza- Once in a Lifetime” the tribute to their performance at The London Palladium Concert of November 1964. Directed by Cameron Turner, who also handles the choreography, and with musical direction by Robert Ollis (who is at the piano), two of the stars of the recent hit play, “The Boy From Oz” bring the mother and daughter act to life. Not just to life, but I must say, these ladies absolutely “NAIL IT”! Nancy Hays is a powerful Judy Garland as she opens the show with “Once In A Lifetime” and Liza is played to perfection by the amazing Michelle Lauto. I defy anyone to see this show and not walk away with the feeling that they have just been witness to a trip down memory lane that will stick in their minds forever! These are two special talents!
The musical evening is shorter than I had hoped for as they do 17 numbers with no intermission. The stunning ladies show all the emotions that one would expect from the real duo. In particular when “Judy, aka Nancy” does “Over The Rainbow”. Both of the ladies find themselves in tears (as did many of the audience members). This was a highlight as I felt that the real mother and daughter were expressing their true love for each other in a special and rare moment.
They do solos, duets, medleys and Liza (Michelle) even does a small dance during “Chicago”. The encore was “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” with the audience clapping along. Ladies and gentlemen, it was these two vocal giants who in reality had us in their hands. Here is the only problem with the show- it was only a two night “gig”. Shame on the producers! This is a show that should be showcased regularly. Not just in the city either. Places such as The Metropolis in Arlington Heights is a perfect spot for a show like this. In fact, I would think any of the smaller clubs would be ideal. Keep your eye out for this one. I will also make sure that I advise you when you get the chance to hear these two ladies strut the stuff of “Judy & Liza- Once in a Lifetime”.
To learn more about this unique, hidden gem in Chicago Cabaret, visit www.UptownUnderground.net
The club is located at 4707 N. Broadway (just south of Lawrence Avenue) which is under construction so parking is a bit tight. I am sure on nights where the other clubs are jumping, public transportation is the best way to go.
To see what else is going on with Pride Film and Plays, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com or call 800-737-0984