Originally commissioned by the International Society of Bassists, Cabaret of Souls was composed by Richard Thompson as a seriocomic musical chronicle about a talent contest staged by Hell’s gatekeepers, dragging lost souls out of the darkness to perform songs that reflect their recent lives on earth. “If Chaucer was a bass player, and he wrote the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, but then failed to write The Canterbury Tales themselves, it might be something like this,” says Thompson. This performance will feature Richard Thompson, with musical and theatrical cohorts Harry Shearer, Judith Owen, Pete Zorn, Debra Dobkin, David Piltch, and the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra, conducted by Peter Askim. UCLA Live at Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood. Fri., Nov. 19, 8 p.m. $28-53 ($15 for UCLA students) (310) 825-2101, www.uclalive.org.