Velvet Tom's Red Shoe Diaries | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Velvet Tom's Red Shoe Diaries


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Velvet Tom's Red Shoe Diaries, at Profiles Theatre. In this cabaret parody of autobiographic musicals, the lecherous, red-shoed Velvet Tom--created and performed by ComedySportz veteran Tom Farnan--is a B-list singer (and once the spokesman for Cracker Barrel) but an A-level seducer. His motto: Have love, will travel. He's so good with the ladies, in fact, that he has multiple ex-wives, two of whom (Lori McClain and Alida Vitas) comprise his backup group, the Velveetahs. With their able help, Velvet Tom tells silly stories about his conquests from the 1960s to the present, explaining that he's only looking for love--in whatever form.

Farnan's easy comedy works, partly because he never takes himself too seriously, partly because the many songs are 80s, 90s, and current pop hits sung as if they were jazz standards. This shouldn't be that funny, but as performed by Farnan, McClain, and Vitas and directed by Steph DeWaegeneer, songs like Radiohead's "Creep" and Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird" become strangely hilarious. Farnan has a thin, reedy voice that's perfect for pop, and the more full-throated McClain and Vitas provide lush harmonies. John France on guitar and Stephanie McCullough on keyboards provide able accompaniment.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment