Mike Marziliano

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Mike Marziliano

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, December 26, 2023

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Mike Marziliano


Making his solo cabaret show debut at Don’t Tell Mama, the very young (20) Mike Marziliano showed tremendous promise, but he still has a way to go to truly make his mark. He has a fine voice, though it hasn’t totally settled between the tenor his publicity claims and the baritone his maturity is bringing on. It’s very pleasant now, and it will be a strong and solid instrument in a few years. Happily, he also has fine acting instincts that were well displayed in his choices of such material as “Stars” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.” To shift moods, he offered an expressively delivered “The Streets of Dublin” filled with the innocent enthusiasm of the character. One of the surprises of the evening was how well chosen the song list was; it was balanced and varied, and securely programed to give his unthemed program a dramatic build.

What Marziliano needs now is a “team”—first of all, a music director. This show was done by singing to tracks; even though he handled them surprisingly well without the frozen aspect they often bring to a show, he will be clearly freed by having a sympathetic accompanist. A stage director would allow him to spread his stage wings and would hopefully motivate him to claim the performance space instead of being jailed behind a mic stand. He possesses a great deal of energy that’s waiting to be released, as he showed in his performance of Bill Finn’s powerfully disturbing “And They’re Off” and in the sardonic humor of “You’ll Be Back.”

He chose to share his space with one person, and a very wise choice it was: Erin Kelly. Marziliano’s friend since high school, the gorgeous redhead, who could easily be cast as Julianne Moore’s daughter, showed very impressive pipes in the duet of “Suddenly Seymour” and in her solo “Life of the Party.” It is clear we will be seeming more of her, and it said much about Marziliano’s confidence as a performer that he so eagerly promoted her. He then wisely linked her recent performance as the leading lady in Romeo and Juliet to his delivery of two songs from West Side Story (“Maria” and “Somewhere”) that displayed his sensitivity and his vocal ability. He did equally well with “It All Fades Away,” even though the song really shouldn’t be sung by anyone under 40. Because his mother told him to do a Christmas song, he included “Oh Holy Night,” which was beautiful in its stillness. It will be exciting to see how this young man grows as a cabaret artist.

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."

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lynn Gallo

    We absolutely enjoyed Michael performance, very entertaining, with a beautiful voice, hope to so him in the near future. Erin kelly is stunning & with an amazing voice we had a great evening.

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