Anthony Santelmo Jr
Christmas on Hallowe’en
Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, October 31, 2016
Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes
Christmas came early this year—on Hallowe’en evening, in fact—as Anthony Santelmo Jr, lent his voice and charm to a program of Christmas songs. The bill of fare included a dozen classical, popular and show numbers, presented in Don’t Tell Mama’s cozy Brick Room and illuminated by Santelmo’s sturdy operatic voice and warm, hearty, audience-embracing spirit.
With Barry Levitt presiding at the piano, Santelmo moved smoothly through a varied program that included film songs: “This House Has Never Known Such Love” (Bill Conti & Norman Gimbel from Five Days from Home) and Johnny Mercer’s “Santa Claus Came in the Spring” from To Beat the Band; theater songs: (Stephen Sondheim/Jule Styne’s “If I Had Three Wishes for Christmas,” cut from Gypsy) and “This Merry Christmas” (Morgan Lewis/Nancy Hamilton) from Two for the Show; and an array of popular and classical numbers celebrating the festive, family and religious aspects of the holiday. Also represented: Frederic Chopin, with his “Etude in E Minor” transformed into “Almost Christmas Eve”—via the imagination of Ken Hirsch, Rosie Casey and Steve Ross; and cabaret’s own Francesca Blumenthal, writer of the warm encore, “Christmas in New York.”
Santelmo’s program of Christmas songs—no matter what season he performs it—is a lovely concert-like gem that deserves an annual outing.