- CHARITY BENEFIT
By: Sandi Durell
His songs are sung in first person narrative and he’s “Talkin’ About a Revolution” in Tracy Chapman’s pertinent and poignant Occupy mantra and the current state of the day (welfare, unemployment, waiting for a promotion) as the tables start to turn.
There are no rules in this show as the extraordinarily talented Thomas Bartlett on piano gets up and goes to the bathroom, or tweets or texts as needed. Bond relates his recent guest appearance on that stage with Broadway legend Patti Lupone, currently ensconced at the venue, and then launches into his love/hate of Joni Mitchell, as he proceeds to sing “Lesson in Survival” and “Let the Wind Carry Me.”
The next section of the show is labeled the Prostitute section including Brecht/Weill’s “Alabama Song,” followed by another hooker song, “Patriot’sHeart” (Mark Eitzel) each a sad debasement of the soul and passion for the damned.
Finally, he was in my territory with a swingin’ “Until the Real Thing Comes Along,” including a semblance of a soft shoe, quickly leaving that for the next section about AIDS – the horror, the sadness, the raw emotion and cries of death – “Clean White Bed” (Benjamin Smoke) and “Leftover Wine” (Melanie Safka).
Encoring with Billy Barnes’ “Something Cool,” Bond’s raspy vocals left me feeling somewhat relieved and ready to go on.
Bond can switch on a dime from soulful, serious and insightful entertainer knowing just when to break that spell and reach for the lighter side. His heart is always beautifully displayed.
Mx Justin Vivian Bond continues at 54 Below on June 18, 25, July 2, 9.
www.54Below.com 212 764-7900. Aside from the many Broadway celebs slated to play the room, Andrea Martin with Seth Rudetsky and Brian d’Arcy James, is the New Mondays series celebrating Broadway’s up and coming songwriters and after-theatre music including Sean Harkness, John Miller and Barry Levitt