Roger Schmelzer: Heartsongs

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Roger Schmelzer


The Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore MD, November 11, 2018

Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes

Roger Schmelzer

Roger Schmelzer opened his Germano’s show with a welcoming combination of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” and “A Little Help from My Friends.” He then commented that the Great American Songbook allows a performer to “sing about all the good things in life” like love, friendship, and family.

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He proved that statement true with an upbeat, uplifting set of songs.

“Ten Minutes Ago” leading into “Fallin’” proved a great expression of the tender, fragile onset of romance and was followed by a sensitive medley of “I Thought About You” and “I See Your Face Before Me.” The exhilaration of romance was expressed in a medley of “Day by Day,” “But Beautiful,” “Just in Time,” and “She Loves Me.” Schmelzer gave, perhaps, the best relationship advice I’ve ever received in a cabaret setting—to wake up every morning and to express the sentiments of Steve Allen’s “I Love You Today.” He clearly put his heart totally into a combination of “What a Wonderful World” and “If I Ruled the World.” By the time he ended the set with “It’s a Miracle,” the audience was in a cheerful mood, many dancing in their seats.

Schmelzer remarked that along the lines of “marrying up” he had “banded up,” and he certainly had a terrific quartet with music director/pianist Jeff Harris, Jack Cavari on guitar, Daniel Glass on drums, and Steve Doyle on bass. The musicians provided solid support for both Schmeltzer’s musical ideas and his performance.

Schmelzer made a point of developing a rapport with the audience and was a consistently charming, engaging presence. One idiosyncrasy of his set is that he seems to feel a need to rework with his material. As the set list hints, many of the songs were presented as parts of melodies. Also, most of the songs featured rewrites of the lyric.

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In fairness, though, these changes always reflected his understanding of the song and what he wanted to communicate.

Michael Miyazaki

Michael Miyazaki is a Washington DC/Baltimore area-based performer, director, and writer. He has performed at various venues in the DC area, and his most recent show is Thanks for the Memories: The Musical Legacy of Bob Hope. He has appeared with numerous local theater troupes including Scena Theatre, the Source Theatre, and Fraudulent Productions. He has attended the Perry-Mansfield Cabaret Workshop (working with master teachers Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Mason, Barry Kleinbort, Christopher Denny, Shelly Markham, and David Gaines), and has also studied under Sally Mayes, Tex Arnold, Lina Koutrakos, Rick Jensen, Amanda McBroom, and Alex Rybeck. He is the creator of the blog The Miyazaki Cabaret Update: DC & Beyond (currently on hiatus) and is a member of the DC Cabaret Network and the Arts Club of Washington.