Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local musical-theater artists, M.A.M. Records has put out five albums, including two anthologies by the Second City Divas, an unofficial collective of leading Chicago singer-actresses. Among the "divas" is Kathy Taylor, the talented and elegant mezzo noted for her performances in such local productions as Next Theatre's Goblin Market and Drury Lane Oakbrook's Follies as well as touring companies of Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. Taylor's preparing to cut her first studio recording for M.A.M. next year; in anticipation of that, she's giving this free solo concert. The bulk of her repertoire will come from local songwriters, and the program will showcase Taylor as a wide-ranging artist both stylistically and vocally: she'll juggle folksy soprano fare like June Shellene's Joni Mitchell-influenced "Fantasy," pulsing pop ballads like Michael Duff and Cheri Coons's "Open Door" (from Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre's Phantom of the Country Palace), and kick-ass blues numbers like Coons and Beckie Menzie's rowdily comical "Post-Feminist Torch Song" (from the Nicole Hollander-inspired show Female Problems). The set list also includes contributions from Gregg Opelka, Tom Sivak, and James Quinn, as well as selections by Jacques Prevert, Johnny Mercer, Janis Ian, and Stephen Sondheim (the coyly naughty "I Never Do Anything Twice"). Joining Taylor is vocalist Jeanne Croft and a band consisting of pianist Thomas Murray, woodwind player David Young, and bassist Scott Mason. Monday, 8 PM, Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport; 773-325-1700. Albert Williams
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Jennifer Girad.