Lyrics & Lyricists: The Bobby Darin Story - Starring Jonathan Graff - New York City Article

Lyrics & Lyricists:
The Bobby Darin Story - Starring Jonathan Graff

Lyrics & Lyricists: The Bobby Darin Story - Starring Jonathan Graff

Jan 19, 2018, 12:00 am

Lyrics & Lyricists:
The Bobby Darin Story - Starring Jonathan Graff
92nd Street Y (92Y)
1395 Lexington Avenue, (212) 415-5500
Saturday through Monday (January 20-22)


If you’re like me, the last time you watched a dramatized depiction of the life and music of Bobby Darin, it was Kevin Spacey’s repugnant 2004 biopic, Beyond the Sea. (Let’s just say that no outrage that Mr. Spacey has inspired since then can equal this disaster.) But don’t hold that mess against Darin himself; he was a titanic fireball of an ultra-dynamic swinging and rocking entertainer who created a remarkable canon of superior music in a tragically short 37 years, and in a wide variety of genres, from hardcore jazz to bubblegum pop to country and folk. Lyrics and Lyricists, now with the redoubtable Ted Chapin at the helm, will surely get the Darin Story right, especially in that Mr. Chapin’s first move, and a solidly out-of-the-box one at that, was to recruit Jonathan Groff. Best known for his two Tony-nom’ed roles on Broadway (Spring Awakening and Hamilton), Mr. Groff has already shown us many different sides of his musical personality: in fact, his portrayal, in the Lin-Manuel Miranda blockbuster, of King George as a deliciously effete “British Invasion Crooner,” allowed him to turn “You’ll Be Back” into the single most memorable number in all of the much-lauded Hamilton. (Zounds! The Empire strikes back!) I don’t know if Mr. Groff can swing “Mack the Knife” or “Artificial Flowers” (the Darin hit written by longtime 92Y guru Sheldon Harnick), but I’ll bet that he won’t throw away his shot to make the Darin songbook rock once more.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)

SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)