In the heart of Rogers Park sits Mayne Stage Theater. Mayne Stage opened as Morse Theatre in 1912. Since then it has been home to a theater called Co-Ed. And various stores and meeting places.
In 2008, Morse Theatre reopened, but closed a few months later due to arson. The theater again reopened, but in 2009, it closed due to a dispute with the landlord, according to a 2010 article by The Chicago Tribune.
In 2010, after grand renovations and under new management, the spot on Morse Avenue at Wayne Avenue became Mayne Stage Theater, Act One Pub and the Mezz Gallery, an upstairs gallery featuring local Rogers Park artists.
The theater seemed to thrive after the switch to Mayne Stage.
“What we wanted to do is get the art community kind of getting to know each other,” said Tanya Marquez , Mayne Stage Assistant General Manager and Mezz Gallery Co-Curator. “And [we] also provide a space where you’re coming … not only for the restaurant experience, for the music experience in the back, but also [for] two-dimensional art.”
“I would say Mayne Stage is just a comfortable neighborhood hang out in Rogers Park,” added Laura Bluett, Mayne Stage Marketing Coordinator.
On Dec. 8, the Sam Fazio Trio played a show at Mayne Stage for the first time. They performed classic jazz standards and some modernized jazz to an audience of over 100 people. Sam Fazio was on vocals with Chris White on piano, Joe Policastro on bass, Victor Garcia on trumpet for the first half of the show and Andy Brown on guitar for the second.
“He’s kind of the crooner, Frank Sinatra-esque kind of person,” Bluett said of Fazio.
The group covered standards such as “Sunny Side of the Street” and a 10-song Frank Sinatra medley in the first half of the show. Fazio even sang a jazz rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain,” from The Wizard of Oz.
The second half of the performance featured favorites like “God Bless the Child,” a tune made popular by Billie Holiday, and “You Don’t Know Me,” popularized by Ray Charles.