Home World Beverly Arts Center presents 80s Night Out to Chicago

Beverly Arts Center presents 80s Night Out to Chicago


One of the most popular decades for not only music but also fashion and pop culture is the 1980s.

That era is the focus of 80s Night Out, which performs May 31 at Beverly Arts Center’s Baffes Theatre in Chicago.

“It’s one song after another that the audience knows. Those songs are like the fabric of our lives. I love them. I love singing them. The audience loves them,” said Lisa Rock, vocalist for 80s Night Out.

“I really feel like I’m just with my friends because everyone knows every single word and is singing them, screaming them. It’s one nonstop party of singing.”

The 80s Night Out set list includes Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield,” Irene Cara’s “Flashdance … What a Feeling” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”

“(It’s) mostly ′80s ladies and that gives us free rein to do everything so we run the gamut from Pat Benatar to Olivia (Newton-John) to Cyndi Lauper, Whitney (Houston), Tina Turner, everyone,” said Rock, an Ohio native.

“The ′80s was the first time women were coming on strongly. They were letting girls be in the spotlight.”

Rock recalled creating fingerless gloves à la Madonna; wearing U.S. Army jackets; dyeing her hair; donning big, long, feathery earrings; and relating to John Hughes’ films.

“I am a child of the ′80s. I was in high school during the ′80s,” said Rock who has lived in Chicagoland since 1999.

Rock and Melissa Minyard of Orlando, Florida, began fronting 80s Night Out in 2018. In 2019, after Minyard retired from touring, Orlando resident Natalie Cordone of the national touring show “The Start of Something Big: The Music of Steve and Eydie” became a vocalist with the band.

The four-piece backing group for the Beverly Arts Center concert consists of Ken McMullen of Pennsylvania on keyboard and synthesizer, Jackson Kidder of Chicago on bass, Ian Letts of West Chicago on reeds including saxophone and clarinet, and Joey Zymonas of Crystal Lake on drums.

“What’s so fun about this is we do a lot of trivia from the stage, a lot of ‘Name That Tune’-type of stuff that people just literally shout (the answers) out,” Rock said.

“People come in droves, usually groups of 10 or 15, completely dressed up in ′80s stuff. It’s so much fun. It encourages people to get up and dance and move around.”

It was the late Carol Girton, Rock’s choir teacher in junior high, and that educator’s husband, Dennis Girton, Rock’s hometown high school vocal music teacher, who made an early impression on the vocalist.

“Between the two of them, they showed me how this could be a career,” Rock said.

“I always give credit to them because I was from a working-class family. No one was in music.”

Now she not only performs music for a living but she also manages artists such as 80s Night Out through Lisa Rock Entertainment.

Her agency’s roster also includes Rock’s “Close To You: The Music of the Carpenters” and “A Carpenters Christmas;” “One Voice: The Music of Barry Manilow” featuring Marion, Illinois, native Mark Sanders; and Tapestry Unraveled: The Music of Carole King featuring Tina Naponelli of Crystal Lake.

Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

80s Night Out

When: 7:30 p.m. May 31

Where: Beverly Arts Center’s Baffes Theatre, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago

Tickets: $32

Information: 773-445-3838; thebeverlyartscenter.com

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