12-18 & 12/20-22: Holiday Shows at Nighttown

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Helen Welch
  • Helen Welch
Cleveland Heights’ Nighttown will be bursting at the seams with holiday spirit this week. Tonight is the second of two nights of jazz vocalist Helen Welch’s “Jungle Bell Swing,” with shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Then, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, December 20-22, Great American Songbook maven Bill Rudman will present his 4th annual “Christmas Cabaret” at 7 p.m.

British transplant Welch, now based in Northeast Ohio, will be joined by her regular pianist Rock Wehrmann, plus bassist Bryan Thomas and drummer Chris Baker, for a show of both traditional and fun Christmas favorites, including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Let It Snow.” It’s sure to be leavened by Welch’s cheeky humor.

Bill Rudman, Nancy Maier, Jared Leal, Sandra Simon
  • Bill Rudman, Nancy Maier, Jared Leal, Sandra Simon
Rudman, along with pianist Dan Maier and vocalist Sandra Simon and Jared Leal, brings his holiday show back to Nighttown. Rudman, who has developed a reputation as a proponent of early 20th-century pop songwriting through his nationally syndicated radio program Footlight Parade and his live series, The Song Is You, has put together a show of more than 30 songs, blending Christmas standards and novelties. Not surprisingly, his set list draws heavily on Great American Songbook composers like Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

Rudman’s press release tempts classic pop-tune fans: “We do ‘A Jazz Christmas Carol’ — Jerome Kern’s title for his 1917 ragtime version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.’ We perform a holiday song that George Gershwin composed at the age of 21. And it turns out that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a Christmas song in 1952 — and even Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim wrote one seven years later."

Nighttown is at 12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights; 216-795-0531. Tickets are $20 for each evening. — Anastasia Pantsios

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