Raue Center’s diva-in-residence for the 2021-22 season, singer and storyteller, Lynne Jordan, sits down with us for a revealing look into how she approaches her craft.
Raue Center’s new Artist Residency Program is a groundbreaking, year-long residency that will explore Lynne’s artistry and craft over the course of 5 performances, recorded interviews, and audience talkbacks.
“Raue Center will not only explore and develop Lynne’s original work as diva-in-residence,” explains Raue Center executive director Richard Kurands, “but also delve into some of the more poignant storytelling styles that have made her a favorite daughter of Chicago for over 30 years.”
Learn more about this Chicagoland favorite below!
How do you prepare for a performance?
First, I freak out. Preparing for performance involves so much more than just thinking about the actual act of performing. It involves; appearance; picking the material; rehearsing the band; and trying to make the program cohesive. This happens before the actual show night. Then comes the actual practical stuff and it depends on how much time I have. For example, My November 19 show happens 19 days after the first show. I have to try and stay in good health: don’t catch cold or get hoarse; pick out what I’m gonna wear especially if there’s a concept that I’m supposed to fulfill like black-tie or Halloween or whatever. And then the hardest part for me is putting on make up though when budget allows I try to get a make up artist. Nothing worse than fighting stubborn false eyelashes right before show-time!
How would you describe yourself as a storyteller?
I am a realist. I’m a “Tell it like it is” kind of teller. I’m very honest, I overshare and I’m usually hilarious. I’m naturally funny but being an oversharing emotional type I can break your heart and my own in a minute. I’m often fighting back tears and I’m not ashamed of it at all because it’s the truth you know? Real emotion. I have had a lot of experiences; met a bunch of folks and I’m a good observer so I have a lot of stories to tell.
You’re really good at “playing to the room” as they say. How does an audience affect the choices you make as a performer? How does it change?
I consider that my “superpower” as a performer. I can tell right away if the audience is loosened up and ready for my kind of performing. If they laugh at my jokes then I can be a bit freer with language or types of stories. The key is to have a friendship with the audience as soon as possible. Charm them, make them like you, not by pretense but I have to do this by being authentic and vulnerable. Truth and authenticity are the keys to any communication and a performer/ audience interaction is a relationship of communication. Dancing is the sign of freedom of your audience. If an audience starts off quiet or tough then you have to chip away at that barrier with Jokes, honesty good singing, and universal stories. If my audience is a certain age group then I choose my repertoire accordingly, some groups are freer by nature and I work with that. We make this journey together. I steer the ship but the audience gives me the weather conditions that may or may not affect our journey.
It’s almost thanksgiving. Does this holiday hold any special place in your heart? How do you usually celebrate? What are you most thankful for?
Thanksgiving! Love it! I love any occasion to get together with my loved ones. But the fellowship that comes with sharing a meal can’t be beat. The whole ritual of making food and showing up with bags of stuff, playing games, laying around like beached whales afterward- I love it! I go to a meal. I have been going to a friend’s house whose Thanksgivings are notorious-it’s all just friends and ends up in a big dance party. However, going home to my brother’s house is beautiful because we are family I feel at home there like nowhere else – no judgments I can run around in socks or slippers. Unconditional love and history. Plus my sis-in-law is a great cook! I am thankful for my life every day. I’m obese with diabetes and hypertension- I’m working on changing my physical self but trust me – each new day is a gift! I’m also hugely thankful for the love of my friends and supporters. I am blessed. You wouldn’t believe how blessed I am with love!
What’s one thing you want your audiences to understand about you?
I’m not perfect but I’m dedicated to being authentic and creating an atmosphere of joy and love amongst them during our time together.
You’re a bandleader. How do the members of your band, The Shivers, inform your work as a performer? How long have you played together?
The Shivers… my boys, my foundation. There is no “me” without them. And they’re tops in their fields. They have no limits when it comes to repertoire or concepts. They’re fantastic. Top-notch players! My drummer has been with me for 28 years! The rest since 1998. We are family. Seriously.
What does music mean to you?
Oh, Lord! Music and performing are my life. They give me my self-worth. I am nothing else besides an artist. I can’t imagine what else I could do. Thank the heavens I can make a living doing this. Music, storytelling, performing give me my identity. I guess because I am “just me” on stage – though I am naturally quite shy and I like being on my own – I feel strong and I have a ministry via music & performing to bring folks together to laugh, cry and dance.
Lynne Jordan’s residency is possible due to the generous support of Pamela J. Althoff. Learn more about this amazing artist below. Her next performance is scheduled for November 19, 2021 @ 8p. Other performances in 2022 are slated for January 15, February 12, and April 23. Each performance is unique and different so catch them all!
About Raue Center For The Arts
Raue Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts. For 20 years, they have provided quality programming – striving to make it pertinent, available, and affordable to all. As a painstakingly restored, 1920s regional showcase theatre named for its benefactor—Lucile Raue—Raue Center has attracted the finest stars, Broadway shows, musicians and artists. Named on the League of Historic American Theatres, Raue Center is one of the finest examples of restored art and decor in the nation. The 750-seat theatre, located in historic downtown Crystal Lake, Illinois, is a gathering place for our region’s citizens and has become a true destination.
For additional information, visit rauecenter.org or call the Box Office at 815.356.9212.