Jeff Harnar: Sammy Cahn: All the Way

| June 28, 2017

Jeff Harnar

Sammy Cahn: All the Way

Metropolitan Room, NYC, June 18, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Jeff Harnar
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

The lyrics of Sammy Cahn have been performed in films and on television and recordings by a who’s who of singers, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Doris Day. Add to the list of today’s interpreters: Jeff Harnar, who brought back his one-man show, Sammy Cahn: All the Way, to an enthusiastic full-house Metropolitan Room on a spring Sunday evening. The date marked the 104th anniversary of Cahn’s birth.

Sammy Cahn worked throughout his career with a small, blue-ribbon list of composers. Prominent among them was Jimmy Van Heusen, with whom he wrote such hits—sung warmly by Harnar—as a smooth “All the Way,” and a swinging set of “Come Fly with Me,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” and “(Love Is) The Tender Trap.” Still another Cahn/Van Heusen collaboration was “Opposites,” with Musical Director Alex Rybeck joining in on vocals from the piano. Harnar showcased an appealing falsetto with his rendition of “Be My Love,” which Cahn wrote with Nicholas Brodsky. Smooth backup was provided throughout by Rybeck, Jered Egan on bass, and Marc Phaneuf on sax and flute. Directing: Barry Kleinbort.

Cahn was active as a songwriter during World War II, giving voice, in frequent collaboration with Jule Styne, to sentiments of the time through such songs as “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week),” “I’ll Walk Alone,” and “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” (the last lustily delivered with the full band joining in on vocals), as well as the popular novelty number, “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen,” with music by Sholom Secunda.

Harnar took time from his singing to chat about his personal visits with the lyricist, calling himself a member of the “Sammy Cahn-gregation,” then returning to conclude his show with Styne’s “Time After Time,” Van Heusen’s  “Call Me Irresponsible” and, in a concluding nod to his own birthplace, “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is).”

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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