Jacob Storms: With a Song in My Heart

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Jacob Storms

With a Song in My Heart

Pangea, NYC, July 26, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Jacob Storms

Jacob Storms possesses the classic bari-tenor voice of the golden age of Broadway. With attractive looks, excellent enunciation (he shows an amusement in playing with words that suggests he would do well with lyrics by E.
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Y. Harburg), and a puckish personality, he can be grand entertainment. He has a surprising affinity for two composers who couldn’t be more different in style and background: Jule Styne and Jacques Brel. With the former, he connects emotionally, making “I Fall in Love Too Easily” (lyrics: Sammy Cahn) the most heartfelt song of the evening, while the latter brings out his sardonic side with “Jackie” (written with Gérard Jouannest; English lyrics: Mort Shuman) and the more poignant “Sons of…” (English lyrics: Shuman/Eric Blau).

Storms’ debonair accompanist Alex Leonard provided fine support, as well as writing one of the witty delights of the evening, “Intimate Nights,” a celebration of the cabaret world.

Where the singer stumbles is in not being able to adjust to the size of the room in which he is performing.
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His renditions seemed geared to the Rose Theater he will be returning to in the fall for the Cabaret Convention; in the not-much-larger-than a suburban living room space at Pangea, it is all too much. Over-miked and projecting to the buildings across the street serves to distance himself from the audience and, at times, his songs as well. “Less is more” often seems more than just a cliché. Once Storms learns to relax a bit and trust his natural voice, he will definitely move up a level in the cabaret pantheon.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."