Mister Kelly’s Alive One Night Only

           But What a Night!





By Megan McKinney



For a single night, Sunday, March 24, 2019, Rush Street returned to another era—the Chicago of the 1950s when, as Woody Allen told the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips in 2014, “Chicago was a late-night town . . . You never think: ‘I‘m living in an era, and someday I’ll be looking back at this.’ And missing it.”   


Bob Mamet, Jim Cox, Todd Howell on March 24.

And Denise Tomasello.


No one was missing a thing on March 24, when 150 revelers packed Gibson’s Private Dining Room above the former Mister Kelly’s—now Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse—for a one-night revival.


 Woody Allen performing at Mister Kelly’s back when the legendary nightspot was creating a noisy international buzz for Chicago.


Woody was one of the towering Midcentury stars—standup comics and international jazz greats—who created the global image of Chicago and Mister Kelly’s as the great late-night town of the time.

Think Mort Sahl, Mike Nichols, Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart, Dick Gregory, Dick Cavett, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler, the Smothers Brothers—and those are just the comics. Musicians included singers Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Della Reese and Sarah Vaughan.


David Marienthal.


The Brigadoon-esque night was orchestrated by David Marienthal, whose father, George, and uncle, Oscar, were the legendary Marienthal Brothers, founders of London House, Mister Kelly’s and The Happy Medium, nightspots that made Chicago the world-famous party town it became for those few Midcentury years.

The funds raised by the happy occasion will support a documentary about the clubs and the era created by the Marienthals.


Cabaret singer Denise Tomasello replicating songs of the unforgettable Barbra, Ella and Anita.

Ahhhh,  Gibsons . . . .

Only at Gibson’s Private Dining Room could Mister Kelly’s have come back to life as it did that one night.

A classic bar in Gibson’s Private Dining Room.

Other guests savoring the moment . 

Matthew Marienthal, Tina Ruttenberg and Buzz Ruttenberg early in the evening.

Leslie Ballen, Susan Marienthal Hillman and Brooke Hillman.

Maureen, Alanna and Marc Schulman.

Kate Marienthal–David’s daughter–and Kitty Bruce, daughter of Lenny  Bruce.

Jennifer Hillman Schwartz and Brooke Hillman.

London House Team and Friends.

Susan Marienthal Hillman and Philip Marienthal.

Ted Bogosian, Irene Michaels, Arny Granat and David Marienthal.

Denise Tomasello and Don Conover.

Kate Marienthal, Matthew Marienthal, Philip Marienthal, Farrel Wilson Marienthal, David Marienthal and Laurie Glenn.

Laurie Glenn and Michael Glenn.

Laura Washington, Michael Richmond and Roxane Bernard De Lajatre.

  Denise Tomasello and Susan OppenheimerJanuary Stern, Denise Tomasello and Bill Kimball.


Photo Credit: Kris Lori

Author Photo: Robert F. Carl