Paul Rhodes: My Life in Song

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Paul Rhodes

My Life in Song

Paul Rhodes makes a late-career U.S. debut at New York City’s Metropolitan Room

May 19, 2017

By Fiona Coffey for Cabaret Scenes

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With an international singing career spanning 45 years, appearances on British television variety shows with the greats of the U.K. light-entertainment industry, a reputation as one of London’s finest swing jazz interpreters, and a mature stage presence that oozes mastery of his chosen craft, it is frankly astonishing that British crooner Paul Rhodes has left it until his 70th birthday to perform in America for the very first time. But, as Rhodes explains, he has built his career on long-term residencies. He has notched up thousands of performing hours, routinely delivering two or three sets a night, over months, even years, at London’s top nightspots—Ronnie Scott’s and The Hippodrome Casino, to name but two. One-off dates in far-flung places have never been his stock in trade. That is, until multi-award winning director Barry Kleinbort spotted Rhodes at London’s Crazy Coqs a year ago. As a result, A Life in Song, Rhodes’ autobiographical cabaret, directed by Kleinbort, makes its first appearance at NYC’s Metropolitan Room on June 2.

So what might New York audiences expect from this stranger to their shore? Rhodes’ great gift is his rich, powerful bari-tenor voice, and his ability to deliver effortless renditions of songs people love to hear. To experience Paul Rhodes is to surrender—knowing that he is utterly in charge and that nothing can nor will go wrong—and that it is completely fine to enjoy such guilty pleasures such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You.” As Rhodes says, “I grew up with these songs,” and they are classics for a reason.” His desire to entertain is evident, without ever seeming to crave an audience’s approval. And when you hear these numbers delivered with his rather intriguing combination of authoritativeness and joy, it becomes quite natural to fall in love with them all over again.

Rhodes brings with him talented London M.D. and award-winning composer Aled Thomas, with whom he has collaborated for the past five years. The show also features duets with BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Award winner and Metropolitan Room favorite Pamela Lewis, and popular London jazz and blues singer Ava Golding, sailing in on the Queen Mary for the show. Alongside familiar favorites from songwriters such Porter, Sondheim and Kern, the set includes Rhodes’ latest self-penned number “You See a Fool,” as well as his recent Crazy Coqs Open Mic Party night showstopper, Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long.”

It’s clear that Rhodes is flourishing in late career, his ambition undimmed coupled with an appetite to share his life in song, both in written and recorded form. We talk about his latest projects—an autobiography; a four-album recording contract; the swing, Christmas and romance-themed albums completed; and with musical theater to still to come.  This may be Rhodes’ first date in New York City, but it will certainly not be his last.

Paul Rhodes
My Life in Song
June 2 at 9:30 pm.
Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St., NYC
Reservations: 212.206.0440 or


Fiona Coffey

Fiona Coffey joins our review team as a cabaret enthusiast and jazz singer, just as she makes her sell-out debut on the London cabaret scene with a self-devised tribute to her alter-ego Mrs. Robinson. She has hosted jazz evenings and performed at a number of venues including The Crazy Coqs, The Pheasantry, and 606 Club. In her day job she is a leadership development coach, travelling around the globe, working with a hugely diverse population of executives, as they grapple with the challenges of leadership and organizational change. Having recently expended most of her writing energies on her doctoral thesis, she welcomes the opportunity to entertain and inform a different audience through Cabaret Scenes.