The Chicago nightclub Mister Kelly’s helped launch the early careers of music and comedy acts like Barbra Streisand and Richard Pryor, while achieving status from established jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn, who both recorded live albums at the Rush Street venue.
The venue, which operated from 1953 to 1975, is the subject of a new film unpacking its star-studded rosters and broader impact.
The executive producer of “Live at Mister Kelly’s” is David Marienthal, whose father George and uncle Oscar owned and operated Mister Kelly’s as well as the venues the London House and Happy Medium.
“They were known as the tastemakers to the nation,” Marienthal said. “And they literally curated the best up-and-coming talent from around the nation and brought it to Chicago and gave these stars a place to really hone their careers.”
The documentary “Live at Mister Kelly’s” airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on WTTW.