**** Highly Recommended **** As we drove to Northlight Theatre, my friend Crista and I were looking forward to seeing Songs for Nobodies which we’d been scheduled to see the very weekend everything shut down. We knew it would be a good show – it turned out to be a great show! In fact, Songs for Nobodies is an absolute tour de force performance for star, Bethany Thomas. 4 BIG Spotlights
Anonymous people often cross paths with celebrities. Could be anywhere – grocery store, hotel bar, airport – but rarely do they actually get to interact with them. In Songs for Nobodies, Bethany Thomas plays five very different ‘nobodies’ and the five famous singers they somehow managed to meet.
Each vignette concludes with Thomas singing a song or two made famous by that star. With just a microphone and a chair on the stage and a starry night sky above, Thomas uses accents and vocals to bring these women to life.
Times are tough and a woman working as a washroom attendant is happy to have a job. She is quietly excited when Judy Garland enters her washroom. When she notices Garland’s hem is torn, she offers to repair it – after all, that’s her job. Thomas really captured Garland’s facial expressions as well as her famous vibrato as she sang Come Rain or Come Shine.
A librarian tells the story of her father, a was a member of the French resistance, who was saved from a concentration camp when French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, paid a visit and distracted the guards. By the way, when I was in college, I went through a ‘Piaf phase’, playing her music by the hour, so I was thrilled to hear Thomas sing two of my personal favorites, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien and L’Accordéoniste.
A backup singer was asked to sing for Patsy Cline in her dressing room. After obliging with a rendition of Amazing Grace, she takes a seat in the audience for Cline’s performance. She’s astonished to be invited on stage to sing with Cline! Thomas caps this vignette with Cline’s two biggest hits, Crazy and Stand by Your Man.
A writer for a New York magazine has just one chance to become a feature writer, an exclusive interview with jazz singer, Billie Holiday. When she’s actually in the room with Holiday, however, she has a hard time actually asking questions. Thomas delivered Lady Sings the Blues and Strange Fruit, perfectly duplicating Holliday’s husky tone.
In the final vignette, an Irish nanny is hired to watch the children during a cruise on a yacht owned by Aristotle Onassis. She is an interested observer as Onassis pursues Maria Callas as his wife and her husband fume. At one point, Onassis, a notorious womanizer, even turned his attention to the nanny. I was amazed when Thomas sang Visi D’Arte, an aria from Tosca!
I can’t say enough about Bethany Thomas. Although it would be a shame if Chicago lost her talent, she’s really ready for the big time. Songs for Nobodies is an awesome show!
Note: Guests must show proof of vaccination before entering the theater. Guests are required to wear masks while inside the building.
Songs for Nobodies runs through October 31st at Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie. Parking is free, valet parking is available. Running time is approximately 1 hour, 40 minutes, no intermission. Please note: the show does run a little long. I really needed to stretch well at least 20 minutes before the end.
Performances are Wednesdays at 1:00 (except October 27th) & 7:30 pm; Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 2:30 and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm. There will be extra performances on Sunday, October 17th and Tuesday, October 18th, both at 7:30 pm. Tickets range from $30-$89. FYI (847) 673-6300 or www.northlight.org.