Belle Barth Revived

From Dec ’08 Spotlight: In my September column I wrote about the new musical Belle Barth: If I Embarrass You, Tell Your Friends which had its premiere at STAGES ‘08. With dazzling speed, this raw work-in-progress was picked up by the Theo Ubique Theatre Company, and a more polished version is now playing every weekend through December 21 at the bohemian little No Exit Café in Rogers Park.

Belle, born Annabelle Salzman, was a bawdy Borscht Belt comedienne who ran her own club in Miami and released eleven best-selling adult party albums in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Lyricist Owen Kalt told me: “Writing lyrics for Belle was fun because she didn’t hold back her thoughts or emotions—she let it all hang out.” Here’s a sample: “Dirty little secrets; I like to explore ‘em. Dirty little secrets on a smoky stage. Private little secrets in a public forum made me all the rage!” Like Sophie Tucker before her and Sarah Silverman today, Belle refused to sit and watch politely from the sidelines.

To reserve tickets, call (773) 347-1109 or visit

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