Aaron Lazar: Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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Aaron Lazar

Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Birdland Theater, NYC, September 11, 2018

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Aaron Lazar

Aaron Lazar is the real deal: he is handsome, has a charming personality, has a sense of humor, is a fine actor, and possesses a baritenor voice that soars and swings in any direction he desires. He is the guy that Golden Age Broadway musicals were written for, and the absence of such roles today is a sad statement on the level of the art.

Lazar’s range was demonstrated with two Rodgers and Hart classics, “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “My Heart Stood Still.” The former was offered up in a swinging, Frank Sinatra-style version that played fast and loose with the lyrics, while staying true to the humor of the song. The latter was presented with absolute simplicity, catching the audience’s breath with the purity of his presentation of one of the composer’s loveliest melodies.

Another highlight was his duetting with Christiane Noll on “Too Many Mornings” and “If I Loved You.

” Both were conveyed with all the power and beauty that has made them standards in the Broadway canon. Lazar followed up the latter with a series of on-the-mark impressions of Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, Bill Clinton, and Elmo, among others.

Novelties were offered up as well, from a Hamilton-rap style autobiography to the delivery of Lazar’s solo from his first employment in New York City, a reading of a bizarre forgotten musical entitled Fried Leather Shoes. Better-known numbers included “Hey There” and “If Ever I Would Leave You,” each given its due both musically and lyrically, all part of an exceptionally evening.

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."