Sister act 

In the 1954 film “White Christmas,” Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen famously sang “never were there such devoted sisters” about their related characters.

Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, who open a week’s run at the Rrazz Room today, might disagree.

The Chicago natives, both recording artists and Tony-nominated performers, each have accomplished solo careers.

Liz has starred in a half-dozen Broadway musicals, including “Miss Saigon” and “Baby,” and provided voices for several animated musical-film heroines.

Ann has recorded more than a dozen albums and, as a songwriter, has collaborated with artists like Barbra Streisand, Carole King and even Cole Porter.

Yet as busy as their lives get, they are regularly drawn to work together. In 1995, they created “Sibling Revelry” as a sort of joint musical autobiography, which they later recorded.

In the works is “Boom,” from which they’ll offer a brief sneak preview during their engagement in The City.

“It’s baby boomer songs,” Liz says. “Well-known songs from the ’60s and ’70s interspersed with stories of our childhood during that time.” Ann adds that “it felt like a really good time to explore this music, and doing it together is really fun.”

A highlight of their combined vocalizing is inventive arranging with tight, intricate harmonies.

“I would give Ann most of the credit for that,” Liz says. “She just has an incredible ear for harmonies. A lot of that comes from singing jazz for so many years.”

“She’s being very generous,” Ann says of the sibling praise, adding that the final product is ultimately a collaborative effort between the ladies and music director Alex Rybeck.

Their working style is to improvise on a song and cull the best sounds for the final arrangement.

“We rehearse with our iPhones,” Ann says, laughing, “recording every single thing we do in case a brilliant idea happens in the moment.”

Born less than three years apart, the sisters are distinct in both visuals and vocals. Blond and trim from her passion for tennis, among other things, Liz’s personality leans to the pragmatic and she sings a clear, bell-like soprano line.

Lushly brunette with a playfully inquisitive gaze, Ann’s vocal stylings often invoke a smoky, romantic mood.

“Ann’s the diva and I’m the anti-diva,” Liz says, jokingly.

“People enjoy us individually, but something really special happens when we’re together. The voices just blend,” Ann says.

“Audiences really appreciate how much fun we are obviously having with each other,” Liz says. “Sometimes after a show someone will tell us that they are going to call their brother or sister the minute they get home.”

 

IF YOU GO
Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway

Where:
Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $35 to $42.50
Contact: (866) 468-3399, www.therrazzroom.com

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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