JOAN CURTO - YOU'RE THE TOP
After speaking with the alluring Joan Curto about her passion for the Cole Porter songbook, collaborating with top musicians and artists, and performing in Chicago's premier musical venues, you know that she has found a sweet spot for music in her busy life. The mother of three sons, whose accomplished professional career has allowed her the freedom to develop a musical style all her own, credits the flexibility, patience and love of her family as the key ingredient.
Joan Curto's musical journey started after a move west in 1989. Almost a decade of musical theater passed before she read about a new club opening in town, Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret. The venue immediately provided a fresh, welcoming atmosphere and an intimate showroom for singers. After two sold-out shows of her own, Curto had more opportunities large and small, in and around Chicago and ultimately, New York. In 2003, she received the Chicago After Dark Outstanding Cabaret Artist Award. The busy musical career in the years that followed was recognized by her peers who honored her at the 2016 Chicago Cabaret Professionals Gala at Park West.
Highly regarded today as one of Chicago's most gifted interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Curto produced and starred in the memorable COLE PORTER 125 - A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION at the Auditorium Theatre. The show last fall brought together superb vocalist's from Chicago's cabaret and jazz communities including Paul Marinaro, Tammy McCann, Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael all accompanied by Rich Daniels’ City Lights Orchestra.
We sat down on March 9th to talk about the special qualities needed to balance business, performance and family and plans for the next Auditorium Theatre concert honoring Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne entitled ELLA & LENA - THE LADIES AND THEIR MUSIC on November 17th.
Her day job …
“My day job feeds me ... and my night job feeds my soul. The music is a blessing to have but it is not easy to make a full-time living and I needed to make a full-time living ... I have been in pharmaceutical sales for 30 years … It is a great career. I have enjoyed it and it has allowed me to pursue the music without feeling the enormous pressure of having to make a living every day singing … It has allowed me to develop this career in a slow fashion and allowed me to take risks without worrying too much about it.”
Defining "Cabaret" ...
“There is an intimacy between the performer and the audience … You need to reach out to that audience, share with them and make it personal … It is really about the fourth wall. Cabaret is about not having the fourth wall. You are singing and telling stories directly to these people as yourself. You are not in character ... it is you, as you.”
Is there a secret …
“When you can bring a life experience to the song, the interpretation and the meaning of the lyrics become richer.
Trial and error …
“I learned a lot from Julie Wilson. Julie is a great friend of mine and was probably the best lyric interpreter I have ever met in my life or ever seen perform. She would tell me ‘sometimes you just have to try things in front of an audience and they will tell you if that is a good song for you.’ I have sung hundreds of songs. Definitely there are things I sung once and I have never picked up again because it was not the right song for me.”
Thanks to Karen Mason …
“I knew that the best way to make friends was to get into a show. So I auditioned for a show in Wheaton … and I was cast … and I made a lot of great friends … I did a lot of musicals there in the western suburbs ... Then, when Davenport’s opened … I think that Karen Mason opened that room … I saw an article in the paper and I said I want to go down and hear that … After I saw her show I said, ‘I want to do this.’ … I have never been in a musical since.”
JOAN CURTO WEBSITE BUY
APRIL 19-21, 2017 - 4th CHICAGO CABARET CONVENTION, Park West Concert MORE INFO
MAY 15, 2017 - DESERVING IRVING - CCP Musical Monday, Skokie Theatre MORE INFO
JUNE 9-11, 2017 - HAPPY TALK - Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret MORE INFO
NOVEMBER 17 - ELLA & LENA -THE LADIES AND THEIR MUSIC, Auditorium Theatre, MORE INFO