John Lloyd Young Broadway at Feinstein's - New York City Article
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John Lloyd Young’s “Broadway”
Feinstein’s / 54 Below
254 West 54th St
Through Saturday September 29
John Lloyd Young - the original "Frankie Valli" in Jersey Boys - has titled his current offering “Broadway” but what makes his show different from the dozens of other shows, at Feinstein’s and elsewhere, that could all just as easily be titled “Broadway,” is that he thoroughly explores the points of correspondence between classic rock and classic show tunes. For instance, when he sings “I Have Dreamed” the vibe is more Little Anthony or Frankie Lyman than The King and I, and the arrangement of “Till There Was You” that he and musical director Tommy Faragher have concocted is based on the Beatles rather than Barbara Cook. Both Mr. Young and Mr. Faragher have got enough tricks up their sleeve, as far as this general conceit goes, so that this general idea never runs out of inspiration. He delivers a very moving “Unchained Melody,” wearing dark glasses in obvious, unspoken homage to Al Hibbler, who who had the first hit with this soul classic in 1955, and an unflinchingly dark (if not quite psychotic) reading of “Never Will a Marry” that’s as much Norman Bates as it is Frank Loesser. Not surprisingly, the crowd goes wild when he reaches his segment of Four Seasons / Jersey Boys hits at the center, and delivers them with the expected panache. But for me, the show's big highlight is Mr. Young's most extreme comedy bit, when he gives us the very first rock and roll / Broadway mash-up, “One Last Kiss” (from Bye Bye Birdie), which he renders in the house, prancing and mancing about, in exaggeratedly parodic fashion, from table to table, kissing lucky ladies in the audience, like Conrad Birdie to the Nth power.
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.
SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)