Ron Hawking
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Ron Hawking

Barrington, Illinois, United States

Barrington, Illinois, United States
Band Jazz Adult Contemporary

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Feb
20
Ron Hawking @ Davenport's Cabaret Room

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Feb
13
Ron Hawking @ The Fuel Room @ Austin's Eatery & Saloon

Libertyville, Illinois, USA

Libertyville, Illinois, USA

Feb
06
Ron Hawking @ Davenport's Cabaret Room

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Music

Press


Hawking finds dozens of artists in his
own voice
CONCERT REVIEW | Impressionist calls up Sinatra, Durante,
Bocelli and others
August 14, 2007
BY HEDY WEISS Theater Critic
Any performer who can knock out a steady stream of vocally
impressive, stylistically evocative numbers by such distinctive,
widely varied pop recording artists and songwriters as Frankie
Valli, Frankie Avalon, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Lou Rawls and Johnny Mathis is bound to attract
attention.
But when you toss into the mix such additional voices from the
distant past as Jimmy Durante and Nat King Cole, move on to
conjure the ghosts of that infamous trio known as the Rat Pack
(Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin), and then finally
top it all off with an impressive homage to Andrea Bocelli, an
operatic tenor and pop idol of a very different sort, you can only
come to the conclusion that the man in the spotlight is either half
mad or engaged in some phenomenal form of karaoke.
Neither is the case. Ron Hawking, proud native of Chicago's Cragin
neighborhood, is the real deal, whether singing in a style that
faithfully evokes the timbre and tics of a particular performer, or
conjuring the game timing and gently salacious humor of
television legend Johnny Carson. And for audiences of a certain
age, Hawking's new show, "The Men and Their Music," might just
be the next best thing to a quick zip along the American pop music
highway, circa 1950 and on. - Hedy Weiss


Ron Hawking finally offers songs from his own heart
Howard Reich

It has taken a very long time, but veteran Chicago singer Ron Hawking finally has found his own voice.

Having enjoyed considerable commercial success over the years paying tribute to Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin and other icons of his youth, Hawking belatedly has placed the spotlight where it belongs: on him.

"Ron Hawking Sings ‘One from the Heart,' " his new show at Davenport's, proves what some listeners long have suspected: Hawking doesn't need to do impersonations of a soused Dean Martin or a bewigged Willie Nelson or, Lord help us, a swaying, sun-glasses-wearing Ray Charles. Nor need Hawking build evening-length celebrations of other singer's work.

Hawking's light baritone, stylistic versatility and easygoing manner are worth savoring in their own right, as he demonstrated Saturday evening.

How many other singers of the non-rock persuasion, after all, can prove equally convincing in music of Irving Berlin and Billy Joel, jazz-tinged cabaret and Italian opera? How many can find something new to say in work that artists as far-flung as Mel Torme and Andrea Bocelli have branded their own?

Though virtually all the songs in "One from the Heart" have been recorded by numerous stars, Hawking's versions often persuaded listeners to forget them – at least for as long as he was singing.

It takes a bold soul to perform Bocelli's signature hit, the ubiquitous "Con Te Partiro," particularly in a room as intimate – and vocally revealing – as Davenport's. But there Hawking stood, stage center, accompanied only by pianist Mark Burnell, caressing the operatic lines with care and conviction. His sound never will fill La Scala, but its warmth and suppleness were more than enough for Chicago's top cabaret.

If Hawking still finds himself performing Sinatra standards, he cannot be fully blamed: That's the fate of practically any male who addresses the classic American song repertoire of the mid-20th Century. Sinatra simply recorded practically everything, much of it definitively.

Yet when Hawking sings this repertoire in his own show – rather than in a concert-length salute to Sinatra – he ventures further from Ol' Blue Eyes' classics than ever. The coy attitude Hawking brought to "The Best Is Yet to Come," the nice-and-easy tempo he took on "I Get a Kick Out of You" and the unconventional phrasings he found in "The Way You Look Tonight" were pure Hawking, no one else.

And who knew Hawking could express such a jazz sensibility, and so keen a lyric interpretation, in the profound but tricky "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most"? Jazz rhythm drove Hawking's version of Joel's "New York State of Mind," as well, the approach elegantly suiting the material.

If Hawking's smart, he'll view this show as the start of the next chapter of his career: Hawking sings Hawking.

hreich@tribune.com

"Ron Hawking Sings ‘One from the Heart' "

When: 8 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 20

Where: Davenport's, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Admission: $35; 773-278-1830

Dave G


- Jazz Review by Howard Reich


January 28, 2010

By JOANNA BRODER

Audiences should find the same strong voice and showmanship they have come to expect from Chicago entertainer Ron Hawking, but in his newest, cabaret-style show, they will find something else as well -- a sense of intimacy.

Unlike Hawking's previous shows, which would sometimes play to about 1,000 people, in his new production, "One from the Heart," he will entertain audiences as small as 75 people.

Cabaret, which started in Paris in the late 1800s, distinguishes itself from other forms of entertainment generally by the venue, which is usually a club or nightclub.

After you attend a cabaret-style show, you have not only heard good music and songs, "but you feel like you know the entertainer personally," said Mark Burnell, who will accompany Hawking on the piano during some of his shows. (Another pianist will play for the other shows.)

Cabaret is piano and vocals in their "purest sense," Hawking added. "It's magical."

"One From The Heart" will run Jan. 29 and Feb. 28 at the Skokie Theater Music Foundation at 7924 Lincoln Ave. in Skokie, and on Jan. 30, Feb. 6 and 20 at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret at 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

Hawking may be accustomed to playing to large audiences (an earlier show, "The Men and Their Music," took place at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, which holds about 950 people), but according to Hawking, the smaller spaces where he will perform "One from the Heart" will not affect his delivery.

"I'm high energy," Hawking said, "and I don't just come out and sing the song. The minute I hit the stage, no matter how big or small the stage is, for me it's like Carnegie Hall."

One thing that will change in his new show is that Hawking will focus solely on music. His impersonations of Wolfman Jack or Casey Kasem, found in his earlier show, will not be part of it.

"One from the Heart" will provide "an eclectic mix of a lot of different types of music," Hawking said. Expect songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Lenny Welch to name a few. Hawking draws his inspiration from performers such as Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme, he said. All the great performers, including Hawking's role model Sammy Davis Jr., spent at least some segment of their lives performing cabaret, he added.

Burnell thinks "One from the Heart" will attract a wider audience than Hawking's former show "His Way" A Tribute to Frank Sinatra, which seemed to have a pretty targeted audience and, among other populations, appealed heavily to tourists and seniors, Burnell noted.

Hawking said he considers himself a "variety artist" skilled in piano playing, comedy, impersonations, singing and dancing. He started performing in Chicago at age 4.

"I think he's just one of the best male vocalists in the city of Chicago," Burnell said. "He' a jazz singer with just a tremendous rhythm, great pitch and just a wonderful style. He has the ability to sound like just about anybody he wants to."

Hawking also is an actor. In the fall of 2008, he finished filming the Universal Pictures movie "The Express," starring Dennis Quaid. Hawking plays the part of the Syracuse University play-by-play football announcer.

Ron Hawking's 'One From the Heart'
At the Skokie Theater and Music Foundation, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie. $35 in advance and $44 at the door. (847) 677-7761 or www.skokietheatre.com.
- Pioneer Press


Discography

His Way CD,
The Lively Art of Impressionism CD,
Ron Hawking Christmas CD

Photos

Bio

Ron Hawking knows how to deliver a performance that truly comes from his heart, and his voice can touch the heart of his audience in every song he sings. With classic style and sophistication, Ron Hawking brings his latest creation to the stage to celebrate...
"The Men and Their Music." From Burt Bacharach to Andrea Bocelli, Franki Valli to Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles to Joe Cocker, the critics have raved the show is"Hugely Entertaining!"

In 1998 Ron Hawking created and starred in his own theatrical stage production,
"His Way" a tribute to the musical life and times of singer Frank Sinatra. The show became a huge hit and In 2004 he went on to build and open the His Way Theatre--The first of it's kind, a theatre/night club, built inside studio "A" at Chicago's NBC Tower. The show went on to play in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and ultimately ran for over 7 years, becoming one of Chicago's longest running musicals.

Ron has also produced 3 CD projects, the latest being "Ron Hawking Christmas" which includes 2 of his latest songwriting efforts, "Rock-N-Roll Santa Claus" and "Everyone's a Kid at Christmas". Hawkings' "The Lively Art of Impressionism" CD was recorded live and showcases Ron's comedic side as a singer and impressionist. His big band CD “His Way”--A Tribute to The Man and His Music," received distribution and airplay not only in the United States, but on the United Kingdom's BBC radio as well.

In September of 1998, Hawking wrote the music and lyrics for “Go Go Sammy Sosa” as a salute to the Chicago Cubs superstar. In addition to major media coverage and airplay on national radio and TV, the song made its Wrigley Field debut at the final home game of the cubs 1998 season.

In the fall of 2008 Ron finished filming the Universal Pictures release of the movie “The Express”--his character portrays the Syracuse University play-by-play football announcer.
"The Express" is the story of Ernie Davis, the first black college running back to win the Heisman Trophy Award.

In addition to being an accomplished stage performer, you've probably heard Ron's voice singing as Roy Orbison on TV's "Happy Day's" show, or voicing the ad for Snuggle Fabric Softener on TV and in the movie "Look Who's Talking". He's been one of the top call studio singers and voice-over actors working in Chicago, New York & L.A. and has voiced thousands of commercial ad campaigns ranging from Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Apple jacks, Rice Crispies, to McDonalds, Starkist, Budweiser and more. He’s also been a member of the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, as well as, the Screen Actors Guild and Chicago Federation of Musicians.

Ron Hawking has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall with the Philly Pops Orchestra and has opened for such notables as Carol Channing, Sheena Easton, Robert Klein, and The Temptations, just to name a few.