Saturday January 20th 2018

” So you think you have talent?

songshopMany of us, those who enjoy the intimate space of a “Cabaret” have the yearning to step up to the mike, but either because of the fear factor or the lack of guts, will never do so. Let’s face it, there is a bit of ham in all of us and since we all sound perfect in the shower, why would audiences not clamor to hear our offerings? The truth is, we all do not sound good to others and while in our shower we think we sound great, we may not. But there are some talented people out there, ones that do sound good and could sound even better if someone would take the time to listed and learn from those who have made the transition form “shower to club dates”.

Last night, I was invited to attend a cabaret show at a place I have never heard of on South State Street in Chicago. The “Cabaret” theater is located in a school called Daystar Center at 1550 S. State Street , an area that is going through some major changes for the better. The host of the evening was a training program conducted by  Claudia Hommel, a Cabaret performer who I have seen in shows at local venues in the past- a dynamite performer who with her staff are now assiting those with the desire to be cabaret performers. The organization is called  SongShop Live ( read more at

Last night we saw a show that was titled , at least for the evening,”Thank You For The Music”. A show that had two performers, soloists, in the first act and a trio of beauties in the second half. All of these ladies were accompanied by the magical piano playing of  Nick Sula, The show began with Amy Lechelt-Basta who did four memorable pieces- “Autumn Leaves”, “On A Clear Day”, “I Wish You Love” and “Peel Me  Grape”. One can tell by her performance that Cabaret was something who longed to do and with some experience under her belt now, she will continue to grow as a talent.1-songshop9-300x199

She was followed by Lynda Gordon, another newcomer to the industry who held the stag efor the balance of the act. Lynda did great with her comic numbers and in songs that were in more of an alto range, but when she did her version of “Bring on The Men” as she discussed her life history, she brought the house down with laughter. A lot of her numbers were songs from Musicals/Broadway and she started off her set with Sondheim’s “Everybody Says No” to let us know that she was telling us her memoir in song. Foir a newcomer she has a great stage persona and holds the audience captive from start to end.

After a break, where they have a small cafe with beverages and snacks ( all tasty and affordable) we came back to hear the three women who have a show called “Thank You For The Music” which will be playing at Davenport’s Piano Bar located at 1383 N. Milwaukee Avenue on November 22nd at 8 p.m. (773-278-1830). These performers , Carol Weston, Arlene Armstrong and Ruth Fuerst met in training and have developed a blending of their personalities and voices that make for a pleasant entertainment experience. They start out with “A Grand Night For Singing” and then spend the next hour bringing smiles to our faces and entertaining us with their lovely voices and the range of music they present from rock and roll, to ballads, to jazz and of course to Gospel- we get it all finishing with the music of Abba, the title song, “Thank You For The Music”.

This was a one night showing, but they will continue to have other “graduates” ( those who move from student to performer) on a regular basis wit a ticket price if $10-$25- let’s face it, where can you get two hours of live entertainment, in a comfortable setting for a price this low? The next show, November 16th at 7 p.m. is called “Songs For Oz and Beyond” and will feature the singers, Carrie Hedges, Leona “LeeZee” Zions and Ron Anderson. to reserve your space, call 312-674-0001 or visit for info and if you are a singer who is ready to come out and “face the audience” contact Claudia and learn how you can be the star you have always wanted to be.claudia hommel

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