Karen Mason returns | Bleader

Karen Mason returns

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Broadway singer-actor Karen Mason will appear at Davenport's, 1383 N. Milwaukee, Tue 11/11-Sun 11/16. The gig is part of a tour to promote her new CD, Right Here/Right Now, but it's got a sentimental aspect, too: Mason was the first performer to appear at Davenport's when it opened in 1998; her return appearance is part of the club's 10th anniversary celebration.

Mason, who got her start in the Chicago cabaret scene of the mid-1970s, is currently costarring in Hairspray, now in its seventh year on Broadway. She plays Velma Von Tussel, the bitchy TV station manager and onetime Miss Baltimore Crabs. The drag role of Velma's nemesis, Edna Turnblad, is being played by another ex-Chicagoan--Second City veteran George Wendt.

Mason launched her singing career here in 1976 in partnership with pianist-songwriter Brian Lasser. Her bravura vocals and Lasser's inventive arrangements made the pair a Chicago nightlife favorite before they headed to New York at the end of the '70s. Lasser died of AIDS in 1992, at the age of 40. Mason's Broadway credits also include Mamma Mia!, Sunset Boulevard (she was Glenn Close's standby for the role of Norma Desmond), and Torch Song Trilogy. For information and reservations, call 773-278-1830.

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