Jonathan Timpanelli: Jonathan Timpanelli in Concert

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Jonathan Timpanelli

Jonathan Timpanelli in Concert

The Green Room 42, NYC, August 13, 2023

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Jonathan Timpanelli

Jonathan Timpanelli, who calls himself as an “old soul” with a passion for classic American pop songs and pop singers, appeared “in concert” at The Green Room 42 backed by a swinging band and joined by guest stars. In fact, the singer got somewhat lost in his own show. A strong director might have helped, perhaps by getting him on stage faster. Instead, the audience was first treated to a series of bizarre video clips of him on America’s Got Talent and late-night television that demonstrated his ability to make faces and work his eyebrows. Following that were some unimpressive clips that showed him headlining a national tour of School of Rock, seemingly filmed from the audience by a non-professional (i.e., a bootleg). Finally, a human being came on stage, but he wasn’t the singer. He was a comedian named Isaac Knox, evidently a friend of Timpanelli, who wandered around the stage while doing some less-than-stellar stand up.

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Finally, the singer took the stage with a very loud version of “Fly Me to the Moon,” a Nelson Riddle-sounding arrangement with phrasing courtesy of Frank Sinatra.
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Timpanelli has a healthy appetite for good songs and for good food; he devoured a plate of French fries during the show and shared them with the band. He even rewrote the lyrics to the bouncy “L-O-V-E” to reflect his other passion.

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In another fun section he shared imitations via the song “What a Wonderful World” as projections highlighted those singers he was paying tribute to, from Kermit the Frog to Ray Romano to Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, at other times during the show, he drifted into near imitations of Sinatra (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”), Tony Bennett (“The Way You Look Tonight”), and Dean Martin (“That’s Amore”) and others as he offered material associated with them. The evening would have benefited from if Timpanelli had shown more of his true self and had let the audience see it.

Among those joining in the festivities were composer/pianist Jacob Khali, who shared with Timpanelli an original autobiographical song called “Old Soul”; tap dancer Izaiah Harris, who offerded a terrific choreographic version of “Me and My Shadow”; and pianist/music director Manny Houston, who soloed on “This Is How We Do It” performed as a low-down blues. Other members of the band included Brandon Brooks on drums, Trevor Brown on bass, Cole Stone-Frisina on saxophone, Evan Amoroso on trombone, and Dustin Beardsley on trumpet.

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Timpanelli eventually showed us glimpses his real self during some surprising moments. From Shrek, he offered a moving “Who I’d Be,” a song about redefining oneself. Ironically, one of his strongest moments came at the end of the show when delivered “My Way” not as a pale imitation of Frank Sinatra, but as himself. This singer, who has a fine voice and a lot of talent, needed more moments like this and fewer offering his tributes to others. Even an old soul can have a fresh take on classic material.

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."