It’s a VARIETY SHOW. And though it was almost exclusively singers, THE LINEUP lived up to its branding last night. It was a thrill ride from start to finish. Let’s get to it.
Piano Master Brad Simmons started the night off right with a bouncy country tune he wrote called “Rich Man,” and though I teased him about my bad hearing and getting some words mixed up, it was a great song and a perfect energy to start us off. Brad’s originals are always a pleasure.
Then Aaron Lee Battle, dressed to the nines and singing one of my favorites, “The Best is Yet to Come,” got on stage swinging for the fences and hit a home run. Smooth and assured, with the fabulous Jon Weber playing for him, Aaron was simply terrific.
The Brassy, sassy Michelle Dowdy kicked us into high gear with a song from her album, complete with a dance break! I adore Michelle and so did the crowd. Her voice is killer, like a cashmere trumpet, and she inhabits the stage. Bravo Michelle!
Holy Moley! Joseph C. Townsend blew us AWAY. The voice on this Kid is out of this world. HUGE TONE. Singing As Long as He Needs Me, he mesmerized us. The range and quality of his sound is beyond compare. Wow. ️
Maybe my biggest surprise of the night was a duet by Josephine Sanges and Sierra Rein. “Johnny One Note” has never been better. The two of them are both outstanding singers and together they were a supernova. The arrangement by John M. Cook was SPECTACULAR. I honestly could have listened to that over and over.
And then along came Julie. Julie Halston is a comedy goddess. She makes us laugh by just a raised eyebrow. Doing one of her famous readings from the Wedding section of The New York Times, she had us rolling in the aisles. She is so tongue in cheek and mischievous, I wished I had sat next to her in home room as she made the class laugh, including the teacher. Julie is a Broadway Treasure and I’m lucky to say she’s my friend.
The sweet sounds of The Scalicis, a father and daughter musical duo was next. I love these two. Amanda Scalici has a lilting soprano and her pop plays a mean guitar. I have a soft spot for family bands and The Scalicis are right on target.
THEN BOOM. Jessica Hendy. Man oh man. HER VOICE IS CRAZY GOOD. Sorry to yell but it’s true. Jessica is fire. Then the equally brilliant Scott Coulter leapt up and got us all singing along with “Crocodile Rock,” and then they sang TOGETHER. I mean. PERFECTION. Baby, you’re THE BEST Indeed. Hearing those two glorious instruments together was heaven.
Our darling Clint de Ganon was out last night, but fortunately the Drum God Ray Marchica was filling in and he ROCKED IT. Of course the always rocking John Miller was a monster, in a gentle comforting way. Brad was a great leader, keeping us all in line. Oh what a night. The audience left with smiles in their hearts, and so did I.
See you next Tuesday!