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Frank Sinatra

Suddenly

October 9, 2018

Mercer’s direction coordinates the outstanding design components into an aesthetically successful presentation with some neat stage pictures and tableaux. However, the deliberate quest for stylization leads to an exaggerated tone in the performances as opposed to the movie’s straightforward naturalism resulting in an overall distancing effect. There’s the sense of experiencing a stilted art project rather than being engrossed by a play. [more]

ON THE TOWN…. with CHIP DEFFAA , November 8, 2017

November 11, 2017

Memo to Broadway producers: You need to do everything you can to hook the next generation while they're young. I got hooked on theater because I saw the greatest performers, the greatest shows, from when I was very young. It would be very hard for a young person of today to see as much great theater as I did, growing up. When they read about some tickets going for a thousand bucks apiece, they might well conclude that theater isn't meant to be for them, but mostly for rich older folk. I have some friends who work in the theater who say they can't afford to take their families to shows. And that worries me. [more]

Spotlight Cabaret: Ella At 100

May 29, 2017

It's Ella Fitgerald's centennial. She influenced more than a generation of singers and musicians. The lady called the “Queen of Jazz” or “The First Lady of Song” would have turned 100 this year. Her bounty is unmatched. Among her musical gifts, Ella was an exceptionally well-rounded musician, a pristine vocalist and impeccable improviser. She was jazz. There have been many first ladies of this or that but Ella was an original, clarion-voiced swing singer in a league of her own. [more]

Saloons: Some Enchanted Evenings

May 14, 2016

Cabaret has always been a mixed bag. The golden age is gone. However, in today's schizo world of nightclubs, things are looking pretty good. It is a milieu unique in the entertainment industry. And, it continues to reinvent itself. The late cabaret critic Martin Schaeffer wrote in Back Stage in 1993,“There cannot be a better night of classic American music than a Bobby Short gig at The Carlyle.” He was right; especially if you're a purist of the Great American Songbook. [more]

ON THE TOWN … with CHIP DEFFAA (Dec. 21, 2015)

December 23, 2015

It did my heart good to see Matanya Solomon dancing all-out after being pretty much sidelined as a "Nutcracker" dancer, due to injury, for the last two years. I greatly admire all good dancers for their dedication and hard work; but to not give up after being hampered for so long is extra admirable.  And he was fun as the Grandfather, making the most of the part (and interacting well with others) in the prologue (staged by Victoria Mazzarelli and Tim Melady). [more]

The New York Pops: Sophisticated Ladies

November 19, 2015

In this centennial of the birth of jazz great Billie Holiday, The New York Pops November concert was devoted to Harlem Renaissance ladies like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington as well as Holiday. Titled "Sophisticated Ladies," the evening was graced by three dynamic guest artists, Montego Glover, Capathia Jenkins and Sy Smith, who have a tremendous affinity with this music, along with music director and conductor Steven Reineke who narrated the story of this spirited and electrifying music. Beginning with Sam Shoup’s orchestral arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and ending in a rousing encore of “Get Happy,” performed by all the artists, the evening brought the audience to its feet. [more]

The New York Pops at Forest Hills Stadium with Sutton Foster

August 11, 2015

“The epitomy of a true triple threat performer,” was how Mr. Reineke introduced Ms. Foster. “I’ve never been here or sung outside with a big orchestra before” was her sweet response to the huge audience response. First clad in a slinky blue dress, she later changed into a tailored gray tunic and then into a striking black gown with rhinestones. Her versatility was ever present as she opened with the thrilling Duke Ellington collaborative composition, “I’m Beginning to See The Light.” Then it was on to rollicking renditions of “Anything Goes” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” from that Broadway revival for which she won her first Tony Award. [more]

Richard Malavet in “Very Good Years: The Intimate Sinatra”

July 20, 2015

His commanding voice often begins with a light and an expected approach to these often very familiar songs and then veer off into surprisingly much deeper tones and shift back and forth. Like the artist he emulates, Mr. Malavet is a master of phrasing as well as a charismatic vocalist. He is also a highly engaging entertainer making great use of his marvelously expressive face. He wears a cool suit and for one number puts on a fedora. With strategically used blackouts, dimness, and brightness, the show’s lighting achieves compelling visual effects that convey the moods of the songs. [more]

Sinatra Paints

April 29, 2015

Art critics may certainly analyze and pontificate about the aesthetic value of these works. For devotees of his, they offer an intriguing view into his consciousness and imagination. Since he emerged as the supreme performer of the 20th Century, many have tried with varying degrees of success to fathom his inner life. These vibrant colors, shapes, and enigmatic portraits, add even more dimension to the mystery of what went on in the mind of Frank Sinatra. [more]

The New York Pops: “Let’s Be Frank”

April 14, 2015

December 12, 2015 marks the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra. Sinatra’s singing career spanned seven decades starting in the 30’s until shortly before his death in 1998, winning him eleven Grammy Awards. Even those born after his death know his iconic songs such as “Love and Marriage,” which was used as the theme song of the TV sitcom Married with Children. Sinatra is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. He is considered by many to be "the greatest singer of the 20th century.” Led by the energetic and creative Music Director Steven Reineke, The New York Pops Presents "Let’s Be Frank" affectionately and admirably paid tribute to the prolific and unique singing career of Frank Sinatra with the help of four robust and polished guest singers, Storm Large, Tony DeSare, Frankie Moreno and Ryan Silverman. [more]

RIP, JOE FRANKLIN (March 9, 1926-January 24, 2015)

January 25, 2015

Joe helped me in countless ways over the years–more than I could detail here--and I dedicated one of the books I wrote to him. He's been a good force in my life since I was very young. I’ll miss you, Joe. I can’t imagine walking through the heart of Manhattan without stopping off to see your office at 300 West 43rd Street. [more]