Anthony Santelmo Jr: Christmas on Hallowe’en

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Anthony Santelmo Jr

Christmas on Hallowe’en

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, October 31, 2016

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Anthony Santelmo Jr
Anthony Santelmo Jr

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 Springfrom 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.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.