Chicago's Cabaret Queen
August 3rd & 4th
"To Chicago With Love"
Denise’s musical journey began at age 19, from performing with top show bands in the suburbs to eventually playing the Playboy Clubs in Lake Geneva and Chicago, where she opened for James Darren (Moondoggie from the Gidget movies). In 1979, she got her big break at Sage’s, at the time the city’s most prestigious cabaret. What started out as a two-week contract turned into an unprecedented six-year run – the longest run for a female nightclub singer in Chicago history. Denise Tomasello was THE must-see performer in Chicago and became a celebrity among celebrities, entertaining VIPs Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Bennett, Mary Tyler Moore, Tom Dreeson, Dennis Farina, Mayor Daley, Irv Kupcinet, Harry Carey, Jack Brickhouse, and many others who flocked to see her. She received rave reviews from every major newspaper in town, including an iconic photo cover on the Tribune’s Sunday Arts Magazine and the Tribune calling her “an entertainer of stirring voice and show biz pizzazz… Wildly glamorous and wickedly amusing, when she sinks her teeth into a belter’s delight, the room sizzles.” She went on to headlining and selling out in the city’s most prestigious nightclubs and concert halls: The Chicago Theatre, Park West, the Empire Room, The Pump Room, Arnie’s, George’s, Byfields, Davenport’s, and an unprecedented, record-breaking six-year engagement at Sages. Denise followed that with an unprecedented, two-year run at The Fairmont’s Metropole Room that was greeted by audiences and the press with the excitement of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall. The Sun-Times raved that “with a voice that rivals Liza Minnelli in scope… those that have heard her once can’t wait to hear her again.” The Tribune was equally ebullient, calling her “a nightclub dream” and saying “so firmly has she stamped the room her own, she should stay there forever.” Her record-breaking reigns at Sages and The Metropole have been compared to Bobby Short’s run at The Café Carlyle in New York.
Her dazzling, renowned Chicago performances brought Denise national recognition and resulted in sold-out shows at the country’s top nightspots and stages, including New York's Town Hall and Eighty Eights in Manhattan and Michael Feinstein’s Cinegrill in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, and The Gardenia and Rose Tattoo in Los Angeles. She also became the first Chicago performer invited to sing at the New York Cabaret Convention. These high-profile performances along with the national recognition prompted her to make a move to California. While L.A. had its appeal, Denise missed the warm relationship she had with Chicago and its audiences, so she returned home to her beloved Windy City, where she currently lives with her husband Don Conover.
40 years after embarking on her music career, Chicago’s love affair with Denise Tomasello continues, proving she is the one and only Cabaret Queen of Chicago. In the past two years, Denise has performed triumphant SRO concerts at the Auditorium, the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Empire Room, The Drake Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, two sold out shows at The Skokie Theatre, and memorable concerts at Festa Italiana. From belting a Broadway show-stopper to her spine-tingling delivery of an emotional ballad to her sultry way with a jazz standard, Denise possesses a rare and unique musical versatility, putting her indelible stamp on every song she sings. The way she engages the audiences with her spontaneous, sharp, quick-witted repartee makes every performance a unique and special experience. A true original, nothing compares to a performance by the exhilarating Tomasello. She is one of the most talked about and exciting performers around, with The Chicago Tribune exclaiming, "Let's make one thing clear about Denise Tomasello: She was cabaret before cabaret was cool." Witness first-hand why California’s Orange County Register calls Denise and her one-woman concerts “the best show of its kind in the country!” For further information and upcoming solo concerts, please visit DeniseTomasello.com, friend her on Facebook, or follow on her Twitter @CabaretQueen.
BECKIE MENZIE & TOM MICHAEL
August 17th & 18th
"That 60's Show"
BECKIE MENZIE & TOM MICHAEL have appeared in NYC’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, Park West, the Pritzker Stage at Millennium Park, Empire Room, and Davenport’s. Their imaginative musical twists on jazz favorites, standards, contemporary pop, Broadway show tunes, and film gems have won them audience and critical acclaim across the country and around the globe. These five-time After Dark Award winners’ recording efforts have been praised by Billboard Magazine, BackStage, Show Business Weekly, and Playbill. Their duo CD, “Better Two-gether,” is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.
August 24th & 25th
Joan Curto has been called a “cabaret icon” by NBC news Chicago and “an artist with clout” by the Huffington Post. Most recently, she created, produced, directed, and appeared in concerts at the Auditorium Theatre celebrating the music of Cole Porter and vocal legends Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. She has appeared across the nation in concerts and clubs, often celebrating the music of the Great American Songbook. A Chicago-based artist, she is a familiar face to Chicago audiences, garnering a reputation for her thoughtful interpretations and powerful voice. Joan has performed in many Chicago theaters and clubs including: the Auditorium Theatre, the Harris Theater, Empire Room, Victory Gardens, Davenports, Drury Lane Theatre, Park West, the Thorne Auditorium, and the Claudia Cassidy Theater. She has been seen in numerous Chicago Humanities Festivals and the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Conventions. Nationally, Joan has performed in some of the top cabaret clubs and concert series, including New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Room, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center in Milwaukee, the Overture Center in Madison, Gardenia in Los Angeles, and the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach. In 2016, Joan was recognized and awarded with the Gold Coast Award by Chicago Cabaret Professionals for her contributions to the art of cabaret and awarded the Chicago After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist. She continues to explore the songs of both the Classic and the New American Songbook and has developed and performed shows across the country featuring the music of Cole Porter, George & Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Jerry Herman, and Stephen Sondheim. Howard Reich from The Chicago Tribune has praised Joan’s work, describing her as “a seasoned interpreter who makes every note count.” You can find her music on CDBaby.com, iTunes, and Amazon or through her website: www.joancurto.com.