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Karen Mason, Vivian Reed, Jeff Harnar to Headline 2017 Chicago Cabaret Convention This Month

New York's renowned musical organization, The Mabel Mercer Foundation, returns to the Midwest for the first time since 2006 to present its fourth "Chicago Cabaret Convention."

Three completely different concerts are planned, opening Wednesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at The Empire Room of the Palmer House Hilton, and continuing on Thursday and Friday, April 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. at Park West.

The shows will feature more than two dozen classic cabaret entertainers and Broadway talents, from internationally-known singers to those based in Chicago, across the Midwest, and in Las Vegas.

The Empire Room evening @ $150 includes cocktails and hors d'oeuvres amidst musical interludes. The Park West events are priced at $100 for reserved seating and $50 and $25 for general admission; beverage service will be available. Advance reservations for all three nights are strongly recommended; tickets for the Empire Room may be purchased through the Mercer Foundation ( or 212 980-3026). Park West tickets are also available through the Foundation or through Park West itself: On April 20 and 21, the Park West doors will open at 7 p.m.

KT Sullivan, artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation, will appear at both venues and enthused about the opportunity to once again present the Great Popular Songbook - past and present - for Chicagoland audiences. "When we came to town in 2002, 2003, and 2006, we were sold out; it was always obvious that there were many people who loved these melodies and lyrics, and who were thrilled to hear them 'live.' So we're putting together our singers and songs with that in mind. Additionally, our composite cast members are evenly split between New York-based cabaret performers and those who have happily worked in New York but are based in Chicago and its environs. This makes for a totally unique mix, and these entertainers have been specially, specifically selected for the three April events."

The 2017 Chicago Cabaret Convention will be launched by the Wednesday, April 19 "Cocktails & Cabaret" gala opening reception at The Empire Room featuring a sampling of cabaret's finest. For Thursday and Friday, April 20 and 21, at Park West, the cast includes: (April 20) Carole J. Bufford, Mark Burnell and Anne Burnell (Chicago), Eric Yves Garcia, Jeff Harnar, Maud Hixson (Minneapolis), Paula Dione Ingram (Indianapolis), Nicolas King, Shelley MacArthur (Chicago), KT McCammond (Chicago), Tammy McCann (Chicago), Paul Motondo (Chicago), Sidney Myer, KT Sullivan, Carol Woods; and (April 21) Joan Curto (Chicago), Natalie Douglas, David Edelfelt (Chicago), Laura Freeman and Marianne Murphy Orland (Chicago), Karen Mason (Chicago native who got her start at Park West), Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael (Chicago), Phillip Officer (Las Vegas), Vivian Reed, T. Oliver Reid, Johnny Rodgers (Wisconsin), Spider Saloff (Chicago), and Iris Williams. Ms. Williams is a native of Wales, which was also the birthplace of Mabel Mercer. (All entertainers are listed subject to their availability.)

Since its inception in 1985, The Mabel Mercer Foundation has stood at the forefront of the "cabaret campaign," both for artists and repertoire. The Foundation's entertainments have presented more than fifteen hundred singers and musicians (both veterans and newcomers) in large and intimate venues all over the country, abroad, and at sea. Apart from regular concerts, the Foundation also embraces and endorses educational programming and outreach. In the process, its performers have captivated world-wide audiences of all ages -- while simultaneously revering the memory of The Foundation's namesake: the humble woman of limitless artistry who interpreted hundreds of lyrics and melodies in a career that began in 1914 and continued until the early 1980s. Mabel Mercer (1900-1984) served as an inspiration to countless nonpareil singers, ranging from Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to Billie Holiday and Barbara Cook; in 1983, Miss Mercer was given the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sinatra is on record as saying, "Everything I learned...I owe to Mabel Mercer. Mabel has enriched my life and the lives of all who were fortunate to know her, or even to see her and hear her."

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