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Haunting fund-raiser for theater

Updated: November 26, 2012 7:15AM

Halloween might be less than a week away, but it is my understanding that “Soul Sisters,” the current and inaugural musical for Waukegan’s Clockwise Theatre (221 N. Genesee St.) does not focus on the ethereal or otherworldly interpretation of the human soul.

Rather, the soul in this case would be the kind that Aretha Franklin is the queen of — the kind of soul that brought us immortal songs like Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” which, appropriately enough, is one of the tunes featured on the “Soul Sisters” playbill.

“It covers a friendship between two women over two decades,” said Clockwise artistic director Madelyn Sergel. “One of them is Jewish, a white woman involved in the Civil Rights Movement who re-connects with her Jewish roots, (and) the other, Cleo, is an African American who becomes a star as the other starts to have difficulty — sort of like ‘A Star is Born.’”

A total of 12 songs are woven into the narrative, including George and Ira Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “We Shall Overcome” and “Them There Eyes,” also made famous by Billie Holiday. The cast of the two-woman, one-man show consists of Marjie Southerland of Chicago as Cleo, Jessica Gisin of Chicago as Sandra (filling in for Clockwise regular Cassandra Ellwing) and Steal Zeal of Deerfield as their manager, Stanley.

On the other hand, you have “Ghoul Sisters,” a fund-raising party for Clockwise that follows this Saturday night’s “Sisters” performance. In this case, any connotation between Halloween season and the word “ghoul” is purely intentional — the promotional literature for the event boasts that it will feature “tarot readings, zombie bartenders and mysterious chanteauses,” which are not generally associated with United Nations Day (Oct. 24).

“The show starts at 7:30, and then at 9:30 the party will start,” said Sergel, adding that along with the three tarot-card readers, bartenders at the event will offer “something that looks like blood, but is probably just vodka punch.” There will also be finger foods that do not involve human digits.

The ticket price of $60 includes both admission to the show and the fund-raiser. Outside of Saturday’s performance, “Soul Sisters,” which opened Oct. 19, will be staged Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Nov. 11. For more information and/or to order tickets, call (847) 775-1500 or visit

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