Rex Smith: Confessions of a Teen Idol

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Rex Smith

Confessions of a Teen Idol

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 30, 2015

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Photo: Walter McBride
Photo: Walter McBride

A slimmed down and sexy Rex Smith, now 60, totally commanded the stage of Feinstein’s/54Below, proving beyond a doubt that the dude still has “it.” What ensued was two hours of nonstop singing and storytelling, delivered with ultra-high-energy, a touch of wryness coupled with a soupçon of ironic self-effacement, and 500% commitment.

Smith burst to the stage roaring into “Love with a Perfect Stranger” following a short video intro. Images were an integral part of the show and were expertly integrated with carefully curated songs and narrative, which had Smith sounding much like a rock-and-roll Sam Spade. Musical Director Tommy Cosentino, a wizard of the keys, provided a constant flow of underscoring, musical effects and accompaniment on piano and synthesizer.

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Songs such as “Trouble,” “Call Her Easy,” “You’re Never Too Old to Rock and Roll,” “Sooner or Later,” and Smith’s top-ten hit, “You Take My Breath Away,” helped tell the story.

His narrative was consistently hilarious (and possibly a little embroidered – or not), delivered with seasoned timing. The “confessions” of the usual showbiz sort also included a dramatic meeting with a son (Brandon) he never knew he had. Segue from rock star to actor and Smith revealed the serious vocal chops that led him to the stage, with numbers from The Pirates of Penzance, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Sunset Boulevard.

Film and his television were covered in “Superhero” and “Affair of the Heart.
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” The big finish of “This Is the Moment” led to an encore of an entire set of five songs, including “Satisfy Me,” “Sailing,” and an audience participation rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” But wait, there’s more! Indefatigably, Smith invited his audience to continue the fun and join him at a nearby local bar. Former teen idols are made of this unquenchable stuff.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.