Well, after a long-ish hiatus due to taking time to work on my own shows, I re-entered the show-going world a few weeks ago, and I could not have picked a better way to get back in the saddle - I saw two fantastic shows, each starring a handsome, talented gentleman! On Wednesday, September 21st, I headed to the Highline Ballroom to catch Italian singing sensation Patrizio in a rare New York performance. Oozing charm and personality, the smooth-voiced baritone wound his way through pop standards and classic Neopolitan ditties with equal aplomb. The evening started out with a high energy rendition of "Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano" and the energy never dipped throughout the entire 90-minute show. Completely at ease with his audience, Patrizio was nearly as entertaining in his speaking as in his singing! His anecdotes were all related with a wink and a smile (and a beautiful, light Italian accent) and he was completely engaging for the entire evening. He was in the U.S. to promote the release of his newest album, the self-titled Patrizio, and he delighted the capacity crowd with a number of selections from the album, including "Crazy," "Fly Me To The Moon," and "Mambo Italiano," as well as the beautiful "Solo Tu," which was co-written by Patrizio himself. Although he performed a good deal of material from the new album, Patrizio made sure to cover earlier hits such as "Un Angelo," his Italian version of the Robbie Williams hit "Angels." "Un Angelo" was Patrizio's first radio hit in the U.S., and the fans in attendance at the Highline Ballroom let out screams of delight as soon as it began! From start to finishl, it was a wonderfully enjoyable evening - my only disappointment is that Patrizio's NY-area performances are so few and far between!
The following Tuesday, I had the privilege of catching the performance of another remarkably talented vocalist, Frank Basile, in his show, Memories Are Made of This. Immediately likeable from the moment he sets foot onstage, Mr. Basile is a classically trained baritone with a warm, rich sound. His program was filled with a variety of songs ranging from standards to musical theater to Neopolitan classics (Lucky me - fabulous renditions of great Neopolitan songs two weeks in a row!), all of which were carefully selected to tell the story of his life, from his parents' first date to the present. Joined by Joseph Gianono on guitar, Boots Maleson on bass, and musical director Bob Goldstone on piano, Mr. Basile put on a musically stellar show, which had the added benefits of being fun, charming, and poignant! He opened with a jaunty "I Still Get Jealous," relating to the audience afterward that his father had sung that song to his mother on their first date! Next was a slow, tender rendition of the title song of the show, which he followed with a tribute to his late father, "If I Sing." Already, by three songs into the show, Mr. Basile had laughed, reminisced, and fought back tears, and the audience was with him every step of the way. They were his for the rest of the show, and he continued to take them on an entertaining and thoughtful journey through the major twists and turns in his life, including his employment in the Italian-themed section of Busch Gardens in Virginia ("O Sole Mio"/"Torna Surriento"), a stint as a singer with the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants ("This Is The Army, Mr. Jones" and "America The Beautiful"), and his marriage to legendary Broadway and film star Celeste Holm ("Some Enchanted Evening"). It was a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable show, and one can only hope that Mr. Basile will return to the cabaret stage sooner rather than later!
That's about all for now, but check back for another article soon!