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Love songs Sunday at Petaluma’s Cinnabar

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PLANNING TO GO?

What: My Foolish Heart: An evening of song with Carolyn Bacon

When: Sunday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cinnabar Theater, 3333 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Admission: Tickets are $25, available at the door, but reservations are recommended. Call the box office at 763-8920 or visit CinnabarTheater.org.

Carolyn Bacon is in love with love songs.

No stranger to the stage of Cinnabar Theater, she’s appeared there as recently as last June, playing Luisa in the classic musical “The Fantasticks,” and earlier in “My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” in which she got to sing some of the most beautiful love songs ever written for the stage. Elsewhere, she’s sung opera, jazz, and classical compositions, and recently traveled to Germany, where she played Adele in Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus.”

“There’s just something about a love song that takes an audience to a place where their feelings are all alive and open,” she says. “So when I was asked to do a solo show at Cinnabar, it was pretty clear to me that it would have a lot of love songs in it. Anyone who knows me won’t be too surprised by that.”

That show, dubbed “My Foolish Heart,” takes place this weekend at Cinnabar, on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. What originally began with the thought of doing a small salon-style house concert focusing on standards from the great American songbook took a turn when the show’s planned location became unavailable. Since the theater itself was available that night, Bacon was asked to re-conceptualize the show, adding a bit more theatricality, and turning it into a full-on cabaret concert.

“It’s perfect, because the stage gives me more space to play with, but the theater is still small enough that it’s going to feel like a very intimate show,” says Bacon. “And the change of venue also allowed me to expand the show beyond just a few standards, into something much more widely themed. For a performer to get to design a show like this is something that everyone has in the back of their heads, but we’re usually just thinking about it, planning it out, dreaming about it, while waiting to be asked.”

To have the opportunity now, Bacon admits – and to include her fiancé Brian Fitzsousa as accompanist on piano and guitar – is more than just an exciting opportunity.

“It’s literally a dream come true,” she says.

With a name like “My Foolish Heart,” it’s fairly obvious that the event will include at least one of the two different songs with that title. In fact, it will include both of them.

“The better known “My Foolish Heart” is by Victor Young, and it’s been recorded by Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra,” Bacon explains. “It’s a wonderful standard about being fooled by love, but also recognizing that maybe this time, it’s the real thing. And the other “My Foolish Heart,” also a standard, is by Hurt Weill, from the musical “One Touch of Venus,” about the statue of Venus coming to life. It’s a beautiful song, but thematically, it’s the exact opposite of the other, since it’s about how we intellectualize our feelings, refusing to trust our emotions when our mind is maybe saying something different.”

The two songs, taken together, have inspired Bacon to think about all of the other love songs she’s encountered, and the various stages of love that they represent, stages that fall between the two extremes of the innocence of Young’s song and more world-weary view of Weill.

PLANNING TO GO?

What: My Foolish Heart: An evening of song with Carolyn Bacon

When: Sunday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cinnabar Theater, 3333 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Admission: Tickets are $25, available at the door, but reservations are recommended. Call the box office at 763-8920 or visit CinnabarTheater.org.

“Relationships do have stages, from giddiness to heartbreak, from hope to regret, or even just, you know, complicated, and there are songs that describe all of that,” Bacon laughs. “So in a way, this show is about how, when it comes to love, we are always negotiating our way between our head and our heart. It’s a theme that encompasses all the styles of music I love to sing, from opera and contemporary to pop music and Broadway.”

Bacon, who lives in San Francisco, holds a Masters in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory, where she met Fitzsousa, currently on staff at the San Francisco Opera. The two will be relocating to New York City at the end of the year, so this weekend’s show could make Bacon’s final appearance at Cinnabar, at least for a while.

‘I’ve loved living and working in Bay Area, and I’ve loved performing at Cinnabar, which is such a special place, such a great community for a musician and an artist to get to work in,” she says. “But it’s time to go out and explore new opportunities. I’m very excited for this big adventure, and I do hope that someday, my path will bring me back to the stage at Cinnabar, where I’ve had such a great time, and learned so much. It’s been such a privilege, and with this show this weekend, I get to say goodbye and thank you in a really beautiful way.”