Andrea Marcovicci is the finest American cabaret singer of her generation, the baby boomers who came of age during the heyday of folk and rock in the 1960s. The influence of Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, and Joan Baez is evident in her direct, openhearted delivery (utterly free of arch pseudosophistication) and in her voice, which ranges from sweet, slightly wobbly head tones to a husky alto. But her forte is the classic popular song of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s–a genre whose elegant romanticism she embraces with an affectionate insight deepened by her (and our) awareness of the disappointment and pain that often lie behind the illusion those songs purvey. Marcovicci brings to the stage a dancer’s poise and an actor’s sense of how to convey a song’s dramatic arc through perfectly chosen gesture, impeccable diction, and subtle, polished phrasing. For her Valentine’s Day concert, So in Love: The Love Songs of Cole Porter, which she performed for two months last year at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel and which also features musical director Shelly Markham on piano, she combines material from familiar shows (Anything Goes; Silk Stockings; Kiss Me, Kate) and rarities from long-forgotten productions (Fifty Million Frenchmen, Born to Dance, Greenwich Village Follies of 1924). The material should suit her to a T: her distinctive blend of lyricism and intelligence is in synch with the mischievous wit, literate delight in unexpected rhymes, and aching undercurrent of erotic longing that mark Porter’s output. The performance is part of the second annual Chicago Cabaret Convention, which didn’t have much trouble booking Marcovicci–the convention’s producer, Donald Smith of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, is her press rep. Friday, February 14, 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Barbara Bordnick.