For some people, the dream to sing for a live audience on stage remains just that — a dream. And for others, they seize the opportunity to make it come true, especially when it benefits others.
Naperville City Council members Bob Fieseler and Judy Brodhead, along with former resident Nettie Badgley, have joined with a group of others to take part in “Love is a Cabaret,” presented by Artful IMPACT! to benefit Edward Hospital’s Heart Hospital.
“We provide a unique opportunity in the community,” said Deb Newman, who serves as Artful IMPACT’s marketing and communications coordinator. “If people feel like performing, we provide a nurturing and low-key experience.”
Participants have been meeting the last few weeks to prepare for the fundraiser. While the staff makes sure everyone looks good and performs well, participants also are stretched out of their comfort zone, making it a self-esteem building experience.
For Fieseler, while he had taken part in the occasional theater productions in high school and college, there was one song he always wanted to perform: “On the Street Where you Live” from “My Fair Lady.” He will get that chance during two performances Feb. 22.
While the song was not written as a duet, he will sing it that way with Brodhead, thanks to the show’s director Heather Hutchison. She adapted its so Fieseler and Brodhead could connect outside City Council chambers.
“(Brodhead) didn’t imagine she could sing nor did she imagine being on stage with me,” Fieseler said. “As elected officials, it brings another point of interest to this whole thing.”
Brodhead enjoys singing with a group, too.
“I’ve only been to one rehearsal so far, but a few years ago, I was part of a group that performed on behalf of Good Samaritan Interfaith,” Brodhead said. “That was a lot of fun, and the group was very congenial. Some friends persuaded me that this would be fun, too, and benefit a good cause.”
Badgley, who graduated from Naperville North High School in 1991 and now lives in Oswego, missed performing. During high school she participated in choir and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy one summer. Badgley also attended North Central College on a vocal scholarship.
“The stories are woven together through a 1940s hotel setting with all different people going through the lobby to stop at the piano to sing songs about love,” Badgley said. “I love love so I thought this would be fun.”
The cast includes less than 10 people, and the theme focuses on love because of the proximity to Valentine’s Day. The show is written around the cast — basically whoever shows up and wants to take part.
“People come from so many walks of life,” Badgley said, “and some of them I didn’t know could sing.”
But the performances have a dual role, also raising funds for the heart hospital because it has been supportive of the arts, using classical music and bringing in artists to benefit patients.
“They’ve shown that the hospital setting can include the arts,” Newman said. The organization wants to help raise funds to keep that going.
This is Artful IMPACT’s third Cabaret for a Cause, which it started before the organization was formed and served as an impetus to formalize the organization. Past performances have benefitted Good Samaritan Interfaith and Meals on Wheels.
“We all wanted to be in a show,” Newman said of the first cabaret. They created a summer camp for adults and the cabarets took off. The organization hopes to put on two a year, but it will depend on the needs of the community.
Newman said a colleague said it best of cabaret: “We take different stories and write uplifting stories about them.”
“Our philosophy is that everyone who experiences the arts, it enriches their lives,” she said.