ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY & LIZ CALLAWAY
Chicago’s anemic cabaret scene gets a welcome transfusion from its native Callaway sisters–truth be told, either one could provide a significant boost on her own. The daughters of public-TV journalist John Callaway, each established herself in New York’s overpopulated show scene before teaming up for this revue, Sibling Revelry (available as an in-concert recording on DRG Records). Ann Hampton Callaway occupies a rarefied niche as one of the few cabaret singers known outside the cabaret world. Her shrouded timbre and the gentle swing of her phrasing revealed her familiarity with jazz even before her 1996 album To Ella With Love (After 9 Records), which featured a top-notch jazz rhythm section and guest solos by Wynton Marsalis. Liz Callaway has made her name more slowly but in a larger setting than her sister: instead of cabarets, she frequents the stages of hit Broadway shows. Her first album–last year’s Anywhere I Wander (Varese Sarabande)–features songs by composer-lyricist-playwright Frank Loesser, the overachieving genius of the American musical theater, and she displays on it the clarion voice, brassy vibrato, and dead-on intonation the genre demands. Though Sibling Revelry gives each sister enough to do on her own, it includes plenty of the dueling duets that raise the concept a little higher than most–though you could feel lukewarm about the concept and still marvel at the Callaways’ dynamic, complementary vocal styles. This well-crafted program also features some expectedly clever segues–and no one who follows this particular demimonde should be surprised when the ladies break into the theme song from the sitcom hit The Nanny, written by Ann and sung by both on TV. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10:30 PM, Yvette Wintergarden, 311 S. Wacker; 312-408-1242. NEIL TESSER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.