The Chicago Humanities Festival’s one-night-only cabaret performances have become the stuff of legends, with audiences invariably leaving the Francis W. Park School’s auditorium wishing the show could be scheduled for a longer run. Of course that would be impossible, as most of the performers who gather for the occasion are working on stages both in Chicago and beyond, and they’ve set aside this one special Monday night (the theater world’s “dark night”) to create a rare and ephemeral treat for those lucky enough to have nabbed a ticket.
This year’s program, created by Jeff Award winners Rob Lindley and Doug Peck (currently co-music director of Porchlight’s sensational production of “Sweeney Todd”), is set for Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. It will feature a particularly stellar cast, including: two-time Tony Award-nominees André DeShields (“Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “The Wiz,” “The Full Monty”) and Ernestine Jackson (“Raisin,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Hello Dolly!”); Broadway alum Karen Mason (“Sunset Boulevard,” “Mamma Mia!”); Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”) and Chicago-based performers Adrian Aguilar, Allison Bazarko, Devin DeSantis, Rebecca Finnegan, James Earl Jones II, Tammy Mader, Beckie Menzie, Tom Michael, Christine Mild, Meghan Murphy, Andrea Prestinario, Emily Rogers, Anne Sheridan Smith, Travis Taylor, and Bethany Thomas.
The revue will explore musicals from “Kiss Me, Kate” and “South Pacific” to “Avenue Q” and “In the Heights,” and will include songs from such composers as Leonard Bernstein, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks, Elton John, and Duncan Sheik.
The orchestra for the event will feature drummer Sarah Allen, bassist Larry Kohut, and music director/pianist Doug Peck (pictured below). Tammy Mader will oversee the musical staging, with lighting by Michael Stanfill and projection design by Jon Runnfeldt.
Tickets to “A Night at the Tonys” (The William and Greta Wiley Flory Concert) are $35, with discounted tickets for CHF members and students/teachers. Tickets are already SOLD OUT, but patrons can be added to a waiting list by calling the CHF box office at (312) 494-9509 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday).