Lynne Rothrock’s Christmas Cabaret
Thursday to Saturday, Dec. 14 to 16
Cabaret chanteuse Lynne Rothrock and her husband, Iowa Rock ’n Roll and Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Ron DeWitte, are teaming up for the 15th year of Rothrock’s annual Christmas Cabaret. Special guests include Nashville’s Paul Binkley (formerly with the band Alabama) and violinist/vocalist Marita May. Filling out the band are Julia West on keyboards, Greg Kanz on percussion and Blake Shaw on bass. The venues have changed over the years, but the cabaret has found a home at Whipple Auditorium, where audience members can gaze out at the lights in Greene Square as they enjoy an evening of music and laughter with Rothrock, DeWitte and their band of merry music makers. Tickets are getting scarce for Friday night’s show.
Lynne Rothrock’s Christmas Cabaret -- 7:30 p.m. today (12/14) to Saturday (12/16), Whipple Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE; $29, Lynnerothrock.com
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16
Chicago native Kevin McCaffrey, a comedian and writer now based in New York City, made his network TV debut on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in November 2013. He was then hired to do warm-up and appear as an actor on the show, once being hosed down by Letterman with a fire extinguisher — an honor he believes he shares only with Richard Simmons. McCaffrey now appears weekly on “truTV Presents: World’s Dumbest” and hosts “College Stories with Kevin McCaffrey,” a weekly podcast talking to comics, writers and actors about their time in college.
Kevin McCaffrey -- 8 p.m. Friday (12/15) and Saturday (12/16), Penguins Comedy Club, 208 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids; $15 to $17.50, (319) 362-8133 or Penguinscomedyclub.com
Jeff Tracta’s Singing Trump
Saturday, Dec. 16
Jeff Tracta, aka The Singing Trump from “America’s Got Talent,” creates more than 100 celebrity impressions. He pays tribute to 50 years of music, comedy and pop culture, from the most current music artists — Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga — to legendary icons Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and Elton John. His comedy tributes include Adam Sandler, George Lopez, Joan Rivers, Ray Romano, Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy and the “Family Guy” cast. Tracta first earned international fame starring for eight years as Thorne Forrester on the CBS daytime drama, “The Bold & the Beautiful.”
Jeff Tracta’s Singing Trump -- 8 p.m. Saturday (12/16), Riverside Casino Event Center, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside; $15 to $40, casino gift shop or Riversidecasinoandresort.com
Dan Tedesco: ‘Chasing the Lightning’
Today, Dec. 14
Budding musicians and music fans alike will take a shine to this unique program. More than two years in the making, Dan Tedesco’s documentary, “Chasing the Lightning,” offers a perspective into the life and mind of an independent working musician. It follows the Des Moines singer/songwriter through the wide open countryside, playing his way through small clubs and late-night meditations on what it means to pursue a life in music. Following the film, Tedesco will hold a short Q&A with the audience and then perform a full-length acoustic set. A modern-day troubadour, Tedesco narrates the American experience in song honestly and intimately, yet with a big sound. His solo show is framed by a minimalist production that finds him belting out folk-spiced rockers from behind both acoustic and electric guitars, while foot-stomping percussion rounds out many of the arrangements. Interludes at the piano lighten the mood a little, but only a little, as distorted Rhodes and Wurly riffs embellish the singer’s stage presence. A nationally touring artist, his sound has been described as having “the twang of John Prine, the attitude of Ike Reilly, the picking of Steve Goodman and shades of Paul Simon.”
Dan Tedesco: “Chasing the Lightning” -- 7 p.m. today (12/14), CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids; $16 door; Legionarts.org