Suzanne Petri at Davenport’s
Alive-Week 43-March 14-12-Suzanne Petri
Kathleen Tobin, Beverly Review
What better way to while away the evening hours than with a grand dose of Cabaret entertainment! Relax in the glow of soft lights, a glass of spirits and an intimate night of stylized music from some of the Chicago area’s best performer’s of the genre.
That’s what was on tap at Davenport’s last week where Suzanne Petri reprised her well-touted one-woman show, “An Evening With Marlene: A Tribute to Marlene Dietrich, the Actress, the Music, the Desire” performed as part of Millennium Park’s “Cabaret With a View” series on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Davenport’s cozy Piano Bar space at 1383 N. Milwaukee was just the right atmosphere and intimate size to showcase this versatile actor/singer whose throaty lyricism, sophisticated delivery and passionate belief in her artistry brought Marlene to life right before our eyes and ears.
Running through some 25 songs the celebrated chanteuse made famous with her smoky interpretations, Petri was completely at ease stepping into the skin of this legend, even occasionally donning the famous Dietrich top hat to put over a song.
Along the way, we got to know Dietrich as a person, a Nazi hater who became a U.S. citizen and trouped all over Europe to entertain the Allied troops. Petri’s storytelling was as fascinating as her singing, peppered as it was with a delightful comic timing.
From “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Baubles Bangles and Beads” to a haunting “Jonny,” “Lilli Marlene,” a Piaf favorite, “La Vie En Rose,” and a duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with special guest John Mohrlein as Jack Benny, Petri made every note and movement (even walking through the tables) a treat for her audience.
A trio of musicians, arranger and music director Bob Moreen on piano , Brian Patti doing some mighty pleasing improv on reeds and Jim Cox on bass were complimentary assets. Noted Chicago actor and Petri’s husband, Robert Breuler opened the show with an imitation of the Noel Coward introduction originally done for Dietrich.