Marcus Lovett

Marcus Lovett

Feinstein’s 54 Below, NYC, June 28, 2017

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Marcus Lovett

The focus and thrust of a cabaret show can be tricky business. Highlighting the performer’s talent takes first priority, but just how he chooses to reveal himself and his path can make an evening bliss or burden for an audience.

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  Marcus Lovett, who could be the dictionary definition of “Broadway leading man,” naturally chose to emphasize his glorious voice for this showing. But what happens when a voice is in less than top form and the performer is unable to use his instrument they way he had planned?

Therein lays the crux of the evening with Lovett. Indeed, he has charm for days and a Daddy-ish debonair quality that can make the most cynical audience member swoon. And it goes without saying that he has impressive vocal ability. A dreamy “Notte di Luce” (Mario Frangoulis/Justin Hayward), sung with son Vance, was simple and sweet, alternating between breathy simplicity and a large, lush tone. (His three children, all featured in the show, are spectacular.) And a bittersweet finale tribute to his father, “When I Look in Your Eyes” (Leslie Bricusse), allowed Lovett a centered connection and it’s here that he seemed most alive and present.

Most other choices, structured with his golden voice as star, unfortunately paled in comparison. He, seemingly under the weather, struggled most of the evening and awkwardly began to cancel selections, sending his top-notch band flipping pages to keep up. Songs like “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (Burt Bacharach/Hal David), “The Music of the Night” (Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart), and “Another Star” (Stevie Wonder), each with its emotional core and journey, were sung rather than embodied, leaving us nonplussed at times.

With so much opportunity for storytelling and visceral vulnerability that is intrinsic to cabaret, perhaps Lovett will choose a more emotional focus for his next showing.       

Randolph B. Eigenbrode

Randolph is the newest addition to the writing staff at Cabaret Scenes. He is a cabaret teacher, previously teaching with legend Erv Raible, and his students have gone on to success in the field with sold-out shows and many awards. He is also a director and that, combined with a knowledge of the art form and techniques that cabaret performing encompasses, makes him love reviewing NYC’s cabaret scene. When not catching the Big Apple’s crazy talent, Randolph loves 1970s variety shows, mall Chinese food, Meryl Streep films and a good cold glass of pinot grigio.