Julie Wilson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In a career spanning more than half a century, Julie Wilson has evolved from saucy soubrette (she took over for Mary Martin in South Pacific in London and played the comic ingenue in the TV version of Kiss Me, Kate in the 50s) to droll diva, with a voice like burnished leather and a sexy, ironic, spine-tingling delivery. No one can expose the nerve ending of a lyric like this elegantly expressive musical actress; with an unmatched ability to fuse speech and singing into a seamless whole, she turns a song into a miniature play--grand tragedy or comedy of manners, as the case may be--and unfailingly finds new interpretations in even the best-known numbers. Fascinating to listen to on record (her albums include anthologies of Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and Kurt Weill), she's thrilling and sometimes terrifying to watch in an intimate club--and they don't get much more intimate than the Gold Star, where she'll alternate sets of Porter and Sondheim (whose comically kinky "I Never Do Anything Twice" is a Wilson specialty). Wednesday through next Saturday, February 19, 9 PM, Gold Star Sardine Bar, 680 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 664-4215.

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