On Tuesday, July 5, Michelle Johnson will perform a special Independence Week cabaret show honoring The Great American Songbook, in the Ovation Room inside Green Valley Ranch.
An Independent Woman will feature songs by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin to name a few. Accompanying Johnson will be a full band with horns. Green Valley Ranch is at 2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, in Henderson, Nevada. Admission is $10, with half of the proceeds going to Golden Rainbow of Las Vegas. Show time is 8:00 p.m., and doors open at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, simply buy at the door, or visit Green Valley Ranch or call (702) 617-7777.
Johnson’s first encounter with jazz standards (the classic popular songs of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s), took place when she was a young child. She learned how to use her parents’ record player at age four, and would spend long hours sitting under the stairs with their albums, listening to Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and others. “I was fascinated by the way each singer had her own distinct way of interpreting the same song” she says. Johnson was singing “Misty” around the house by age five, but it would be another five years before she made her onstage debut singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar in a school program.
On her website, www.michellejohnson.com, Johnson is known a the “diva” of her production company, Diva Las Vegas Productions, but onstage she views herself as a member of the ensemble. “I try to emulate Ella Fitzgerald, who ‘sang like a trumpet’ and who approached songs more as an instrumentalist than as a typical frontwoman.”
Johnson is looking forward to her first time as a headliner in Green Valley’s Ovation Room, which is particularly suited for a show with a large band. Despite the size of her band, Johnson intends to create a sense of intimacy with her audience by tying the evening together with a narrative thread that celebrates themes of female independence. In a typical nightclub show, Johnson said, “you come watch someone sing, they do a bunch of songs, and everybody goes home,” whereas at a cabaret show, “I’ve done my job if the audience gets to know me by the end of the night.”