- CHARITY BENEFIT
Times Square Chronicles and Sandi Durell would like to welcome Joe Regan, Jr. as a contributing reviewer to the Cabaretsection of T2.
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A graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in theatre and English (creative writing), Joe Regan Jr. worked for more than thirty years in musical theater and film, including five years with Jule Styne during the period of Funny Girl, Fade Out Fade In, Darling of the Day, and casting several road companies of Hair. He has written and directed and/or “creative consulted” on many major cabaret shows including Martha Lorin, KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler, Barbara Brussell, Karen Oberlin and Maureen Taylor. He has written feature articles, cabaret and CD reviews for Cabaret Scenes, Cabaret Exchange, Riveting Riffs, and posted reviews on Yahoo Songbirds, Stu Hamstra’s Cabaret Hotline and Talkin’ Broadway. His liner notes are on the award winning CDs of Terese Genecco’s Drunk with Love and Sharon Paige’sLove Is the Thing. In 2008 he received the Jeff Matson Award for his contribution and support to the cabaret community.
Better late than never, let me tell you about Gregory Nalbone who appeared at the Metropolitan Room on Super Bowl Sunday, a night usually avoided by cabaret singers, and had over one hundred men and women attend to see “Love Is In the Air — Songs of Romance and Passion.” Nalbone demonstrated that after only four previous smaller shows, he is positioned right now to become a major star!
Appearing in black formal wear, Nalbone began with his back to the audience singing a plaintive “Could It Be Magic.” Spurred on by his superb trio of musicians (music director and pianist David Schafer, bass player Saadi Zain, and drummer Russ DiBona), Nalbone built to a strong crescendo before turning and facing his audience. It was immediately followed, without any patter, by an emotional “Love Is in the Air, “the title song of the show. Perching himself on a stool against the piano, Nalbone daringly, but gently sang, with great meaning to the lyrics, a song most singers use as the final song in their sets, the standard “I Remember You.”
Nalbone’s tribute to Tony Bennett was his discovery of Bart Howard’s “In Other Words” on an old album. Nalbone intoned poignantly the rarely sung verse before going into the familiar melody of the song re-titled “Fly Me to the Moon” when Sinatra recorded it. After that sweet ballad, Nalbone released his full sexual power and sent it rocketing all over the room with his second Johnny Mercer, a Sammy Davis-styled “Something’s Gotta Give”.
“Wishful Thinking,” a sad Carole King torch song changed the mood of the room and it was followed by “The Song Is You,” one of his encore songs from his previous shows. He returned Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” to its original waltz tempo which made the song romantic as hell! Nalbone did not open up his full tenor until the second chorus and then had the courage to end the song softly, except for the final, full out night and day.
Nalbone also tells funny personal stories endearing himself even more to his audience. The cabaret warhorse “The Way We Were” was delivered so simply and tenderly, it demonstrated Nalbone’s excellent diction and superb command of melody. By special request, he sang Elton John’s “Your Song.” His encore was “I’m the Only One”.
We could have stayed for another hour of Nalbone and his trio‘s musicianship and fine taste in song selection.