Constantine Maroulis

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Constantine Maroulis

Birdland, NYC, March 19, 2018

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Constantine Maroulis

Take one patently talented actor-singer, combine with an amazing piano player, and throw in a boldly patterned scarf as a prop, and the result might well be entertainment on steroids. These ingredients were a winning formula for Constantine Maroulis, who demonstrated how minimalism can still produce a big splash on a stage. He is a Tony-nominated Broadway star who also happens to be a rock ‘n’ roller, songwriter, producer, and energy generator.
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He knows how to work a room and a stage, and his fans eat it up with a spoon. The adoration comes from talent and personality: Maroulis is the boy next door in a funky, quaintly charming way. Make that the Greek boy next door. His self-effacing patter often makes reference to his heritage with humor and due pride.

Leading off with two numbers from West Side Story – “Somewhere” and “Maria” – Maroulis began a journey from Broadway through his own compositions (“All About You,” “Blown Away”) to his rock star persona. The performance is well considered, with an excellently paced arc. He is a natural belter, a kind of walking 11 o’clock number, but he knows how to use that big voice and modulates accordingly. He’s also especially adept at phrasing, as impressively evidenced in the challenging story song from Jesus Christ Superstar, “Heaven on Their Minds.” From his splashy American Idol days he reprises “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and then ends the set on a high note of serious rock ‘n’ roll, performing a tour-de-force “Bohemian Rhapsody” (with spontaneous participation from an adoring, pumped-up audience).

Much of the success of Maroulis’ set is owed to pianist Joshua Stephen Kartes, who matched the singer note for note in passion and energy. Kartes’ classical training informed his technique in pop and rock modes, giving his playing a very lush fullness.
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He’s one of those artists who can coax a single piano into thinking it’s an entire orchestra.

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.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Judy

    Thank you for your excellent, 100 % on point review of Constantine Maroulis’s stellar Birdland, NYC solo debut on Monday. I especially appreciate your nod to the minimalist approach that he and his talented pianist bring so effortlessly to the stage!

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