Monday, June 28, 2010

Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney collaborate in a wonderful two woman show at 7PM, Saturday, July 10th at the Iron Horse

The Jill and Julia Show is a delightful, poignant yet wildly entertaining mash-up of music, comedy, improvisation and monologues. This one-of-a-kind performance revolves around embedding Julia's stories into songs of Jill's that share a common theme creating a sum greater than the individual parts. The debut at the world renowned TED conference in 2007 has grown to a monthly residency in and around Chicago and will be touring nationwide in 2010 and beyond.

Known for her four-year run on Saturday Night Live and her powerful solo shows, Julia Sweeney continues to carve out her own territory in entertainment, one that moves between the personal and the political, the controversial and the comical.

Jill Sobule's work is at once deeply personal and socially conscious, seriously funny and derisively tragic. Over seven albums and a decade of recording, Jill has mused on topics such as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence, and the Christian right. The NY Times called her "...topical, funny and more than a little poignant ...grown-up music for an adolescent age.”

From The Huffington Post: Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney might not at first seem an ideal show-business team; the experiential divide between comics and musicians is sufficiently wide that you rarely find them even attempting to forge a bond. (That Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis remain the most successful such duo isn't exactly inspirational.)

But when you give the matter a moment's thought, you begin to see some common ground between the two performers: Sweeney, remember, glanced the Zeitgeist with her portrayal of a sexually ambiguous character named Pat; and Sobule scored a hit with her sexually ambiguous single, "I Kissed a Girl."

More substantively, now both are forty-something women in an industry largely blind to anyone over thirty, and while each retains a certain girlishness--Sweeney's breathy, often giggling line delivery, and Sobule's bright, insouciant vocals--beneath the surface there's nothing gamine about them.

Sweeney, after all, is a woman who's faced down both cancer and organized religion (as she's related in two bravura one-woman shows, God Said Ha! and Letting Go of God) and Sobule, marginalized by the mainstream recording industry, boldly went her own way, and has just released a CD (California Years), immaculately produced by Don Was, that she financed herself entirely through small donations from her fans (many of whom are explicitly thanked on the disc's concluding cut, "The Donor Song").

Spines of iron, then, despite Sweeney's self-deprecating stammer and Sobule's diminutive stature (she's taken to playing a very small guitar, possibly to de-emphasize her slightness).
And no wonder the two should have formed a mutual admiration society; or that the admiration has developed into a partnership, to wit: The Jill and Julia Show.

Tickets for the Jill and Julia Show Saturday, July 10 at 7PM at the Iron Horse are available at Northampton Box Office, 413-586-8686 and online at

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