In his notes for Hollis Resnik’s debut CD, Make Someone Happy (M.A.M. Records), Broadway composer Michael John LaChiusa compares the Chicago-based singer to Ethel Merman and Mary Martin. But if Resnik recalls anyone, it’s the brilliant young Barbra Streisand. With gutsy dramatic instincts and a voice that can be big and brassy or soft and smoldering, Resnik eschews standard cabaret fare for an offbeat repertoire of little-known new material (by LaChiusa and Chicago-bred songwriter Lou Rosen, among others) and reinterpreted chestnuts by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein (a playful cool-jazz version of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” from The Sound of Music), Weill and Brecht (a smoky reading of the cynical “Barbara Song” from Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of The Threepenny Opera), Bock and Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, and Jule Styne, whose tender ballad “Make Someone Happy” (from Do Re Mi, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) is a stunning showcase for Resnik’s high belt. She’s versatile too, known to Chicago audiences for her performances in “straight” plays (by Moliere, Wilde, Stoppard, Hellman, and others) as well as musicals (including a stint in the road company of Les Miserables). Resnik appears in concert to herald the CD’s release, where she’ll be supported by a six-piece band led by keyboardist-arranger Rick Snyder and featuring her husband, bassist Tom Mendel. Monday, October 14, 8 PM, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand; 312-595-5600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.