Chip Deffaa’s The Boy Next Door

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Chip Deffaa’s The Boy Next Door

(Garrett Mountain Records)

May 20, 2020

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Having produced over two dozen CDs, Chip Deffaa has essentially become a one-man genre of his own. Most of his recordings feature a collection of appealing performers, ranging from newcomers to Broadway veterans who have developed into a stock company the maestro draws upon. The singers all deliver with clarity and a sense of style appropriate to a repertoire that covers about a century of writing; their voices are at least pleasant, though occasionally one regrets that some don’t project a strong individual personality.

The booklet for this album, like most in the series, is comprehensive and gives an extensive background for each song along with information about the soloist or duettists.

buy zoloft Canada no prescription

buy Flomax generic over the counter
Thumbnail photos of each participant help to visualize them in performance. Deffaa also uses the bios to promote his other projects that they’ve appeared in. They may get a bit wordy at times, but his offerings definitely fall under the concept of “more is more,” leading to a slightly overstuffed 24 tracks.

Since the majority of the individual songs run around the three-minute mark, this isn’t a CD you’ll necessarily want to listen to straight through, but you might choose to sample a bit at a time, like a rich mix of chocolates.

Among the highlights are:

“Boy Wanted,” (the Gershwins) opens the album with a much livelier interpretation by the charming Ellis Gage (definitely the featured artist of the set with seven appearances) of a song that is generally given a more languid tempo.

“The Boy Next Door”: yes, what is more cliché than a Judy Garland standard being delivered by a young gay man with no pronouns changed. But David Warren wins with a totally sincere performance without a trace of camp (actually camp is avoided throughout most of the album; there’s a great deal of humor but happily very little camp).

Speaking of camp, Tyler DuBoys delivers an even more surprising achievement by keeping just inside the lines of taste with “Where the Boys Are.”

Several numbers are given a much fuller development, turning them into playlets. “Pu-Leeze, Mr. Hemingway” (Walter Kent, Milton Drake, Abner Silver) tells the amusing tale of a young man (Ellery Bakaitis) dealing with a mature admirer (Deffaa). “Who Needs Ya?,” the longest track on the recording, allows Alec Deland and the returning DuBoys to encapsulate a mismatched but ultimately loving relationship in this true musical-theater gem by the album producer himself.

The two major names here, both Tony-nominated, each give one solo rendition: Stephen Bogardus offers up Cole Porter’s tongue-in-cheek, plaintive “Nobody’s Chasing Me” with a comic invention that makes it regrettable that this version is so short. John Tartaglia happily gets to spend more time with Rodgers and Hart’s love song to their city, “Manhattan,” with growing joy as he enumerates the many joys of the entire New York City area.

Not all of the material is upbeat. Irving Berlin’s plaintive “What’ll I Do?” is given a delicate, sincere treatment by DuBoys and Peter Charney, and Gage brings the proceedings to a close with a wistful “Goodnight My Someone” that seems eternally hopeful.

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."