Paul Fraccalvieri: Road to Joy!

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Paul Fraccalvieri

Road to Joy!

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, June 14, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Paul Fraccalvieri

The charismatic Paul Fraccalvieri charmed a packed room as he recounted the fascinating journey that his life has taken. The often sung “Corner of the Sky” was especially appropriate to this tale; his search for joy took him through the military (“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” with extra emphasis on the lyric “we’ll all be gay”), a career in teaching, time spent in China—“(I’d Like to Get You) On a Slow Boat to China”—Morocco (“Old Devil Moon”), a disappointing romance (“The Man That Got Away” delivered with absolutely no camp), and a long-lasting one (“Some Enchanted Evening”).

Throughout, Fraccalvieri used his malleable tenor and expressive delivery of lyrics to create moods both comic and emotional.

His “Anyone Can Whistle” was offered with a delicacy and sweetness that drew the audience in and an a cappella “Some Enchanted Evening” dazzled the heart.

“Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” filled the stage with distinct, amusing characters, and “Poison Ivy” gave him a chance to rock and swing.

The singer also took the opportunity to pay tribute to one of his musical mentors, Phil Springer, with one of his best-known songs and one of his least-known, “How Little We Know” and “All I Am,” with great feeling.

Throughout the evening, music director David Gaines provided flexible assistance, capturing every style and mood shift. The entire production was directed with her usual skilled invisibility by Lina Koutrakos.

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."