Nicolas King: Encore!

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Nicolas King


The Green Room 42, NYC, June 18, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Nicolas King
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

The handsome young jazz vocalist Nicolas King made his The Green Room 42 debut with a show that encompassed the many aspects of his career, always displaying his love for the Great American Songbook. He was backed up by an all-star trio of consisting of music director Mike Renzi, drummer Ray Marchica, and bassist Tom Hubbard, all of whom matched him every step of the way in versatility.
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His guest star, Anais Reno, is a 15-year-old marvel whose natural awkwardness as a tall teen vanished when she unleashed her smoky pipes in duet with King on “’S Wonderful”—and it was.

King wisely, and against tradition, began his show with a ballad version of “Rags to Riches,” drawing the audience in and seducing them before launching into a hot swinging delivery of “Love for Sale,” with a fair amount of scatting thrown in. Cole Porter might not have recognized his tune, but the audience loved it.
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 On the other hand, “My Foolish Heart” was given a gentle, sincere interpretation in a smooth crooner fashion. Showing his background as a Broadway baby, King powerfully offered the complex “At the Fountain.

” To round up this quintet of versatility came Renzi’s own arrangement of “Pick Yourself Up” which gave the vocalist the chance to demonstrate his admiration of Mel Tormé (minus the fog).

For a smash finale, King offered up a dazzling medley of songs with Johnny Mercer lyrics, hurtling his way through a survey of great songs. He followed that up with “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini),” starting slow and straight-forward, never pushing, before slowly building it up to an audience-thrilling blast.

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."