DAILY HERALD SPOTLIGHTS MY BABY PREMIERE
Married musical theater standouts team up for local benefit
Stepping onto the Northlight Theatre stage Monday evening marks a reunion of sorts for married musical theater veterans Michael and Angela Ingersoll, who bring their cabaret revue “My Baby Just Cares for Me” to the Skokie theater Monday for the first of two benefit shows. The couple, who met onstage 11 years ago at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, last worked together in the 2006 revival of the musical revue “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.
In the interim, Michael Ingersoll spent three years playing Nick Massi of the Four Seasons in “Jersey Boys,” including its extended Chicago run. During his off nights, he returned to Metropolis with his cabaret show, to help raise funds for the theater’s youth theater and symphony programs. Ingersoll performed throughout the Chicago area, including Elgin, Aurora, Schaumburg, Palatine, Carol Stream and Algonquin, and around the country, raising more than $3 million for charities that included arts and education organizations. After “Jersey Boys” closed here, he and castmates Michael Cunio, Christopher Kale Jones and Shonn Wiley formed the doo-wop group, Under The Streetlamp and began touring.
Meanwhile, Angela Ingersoll kept busy performing locally with Light Opera Works in Evanston, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the now defunct Apple Tree Theatre. Like her husband, she also did charity work, volunteering with the Chicago Cares literacy program, before moving west to perform sketch comedy with Second City Hollywood, iO West and the Upright Citizens Brigade.
After Angela Ingersoll returned to Oak Brook earlier this year to co-star in Drury Lane Theatre’s “The 39 Steps,” Northlight executive director Timothy J. Evans — familiar with the couple’s onstage chemistry from their Metropolis days — approached them about creating a revue for the theater’s annual fall benefit. The couple quickly agreed. They came up with “My Baby Just Cares for Me” which Michael Ingersoll compares to the couple hosting a party in their living room. Chronicling the story of the couple’s marriage, it consists of classic pop tunes, punctuated by lighthearted banter reminiscent of the popular comedy duo of George Burns and Gracie Allen.
“After this many years together it feels like we’re birthing a creation ... showing an audience what we’ve made,” Angela Ingersoll said.
“Working together at this point in our career is easier and more enriching,” added Michael Ingersoll, partly because of the “shorthand” they’ve developed over the years.
They acknowledged that they felt a bit competitive early in their relationship, which Michael attributed to them wanting to impress each other — something he says Angela continues to do.
“Put it this way, there are four theater awards hanging on the wall in our home and I own none of them,” said Michael, laughing. “I wanted to make it clear to Angela, if there was ever a time she was making more money than me ...”
“Michael wishes to be a kept husband,” Angela joked, finishing his thought.
These days, what they want most is for each other’s dreams to come true. For Michael, that means devoting himself to Under the Streetlamp, who members are currently in the middle of recording a Christmas CD and an ongoing national tour that brings them to Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre on Dec. 30 followed by a pair of New Year’s Eve shows at Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. Having fallen in love with classic pop and doo-wop during “Jersey Boys,” Ingersoll says he believes this is the music he was born to sing. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever return to theater. “I’m not really auditioning for anything anymore,” he said. “I’m in a band.”
As for Angela, after the Northlight shows, she returns to Los Angeles to rejoin her sketch comedy group. But the couple have no plans to retire their newfound act. “Our goal is for people to see their own relationship onstage,” she said. “The details might change but our stories are intertwined.”
Cover Photo: Artists Lounge Live