Adam LaPorte: Piece of Work

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Adam LaPorte

Piece of Work

The Green Room 42, NYC, March 20, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Adam LaPorte

Adam LaPorte is a charming and energetic singer/songwriter who works in several genres, all of which were put on display in his show Piece of Work at The Green Room 42. It was an enjoyable evening but schizophrenic as he went from from standard pop to theater songs from several of his projects. The show tunes came off much better than the pop songs, but as a songwriter he has not yet found his individual voice. In fact, he offered songs by some of his major songwriting, which made for an illuminating part of the show. He was backed by an excellent band—Stephen Elkins, Matt Graham, Dom Gervais, and Franklin Rankin—and two fine singers–Madeline Powell and Meghan Rooney—who performed both back-up duties and as soloists.

The evening kicked off with several pop numbers performed by the entire company. “Trophy Wife” was sort-of country rock and had lyrics that were difficult to understand, and what could be understood was quite repetitive. “Florida” was rather weird; it was a song about the hatred between a son and a father, and its upbeat arrangement couldn’t hide the bitterness of the lyrics. “Quarter Zip” was a sad ballad, the first of many throughout the evening. (LaPorte joked about that with his charming self-deprecating sense of humor.) this song’s lyrics were specific and made it the strongest of these three selections.

In the show’s next section LaPorte paired songs that had influenced him with compositions of his own. This sequence showed him to be an excellent singer of standards, though his originals somewhat paled in comparison. John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulder,” Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You,” and the Gershwins’ “Someone to Watch Over Me” were all beautifully played and sung, and the last was absolutely devastating in its purity. The first was paired with LaPorte’s melancholy “Whatever,” a lovely almost-love song, and the second with one that may have been called”Only Mine to Love” (he wasn’t too good at naming his works on stage). The last one, “High Noon,” was a minor-key number that had attractive sensuality.

This section logically led to a set of songs written for musical theater. “Empty” was a wonderful character song offered by Rooney that was filled with humor and details. LaPorte then demonstrated his belief that love songs were more intriguing when they didn’t include the word “love” with two effective numbers. “Every Day Together” performed by him, and the even more oblique “Growing Old” (about two women shyly who admitted that there might be something more to their relationship than friendship), was performed by Powell and Rooney. Rooney also offered a very strange “There Is a Snake,” which was filled with dark, religious fervor.

With the full band back on the stage after the piano-only quartet of theater numbers, the “final” number “In the Wash” was a country song with flavorsome lyrics in a minor key – seeming to be LaPorte’s favorite. I say “final” because he promised there would be an encore, and then rehearsed the audience in how to beg for one—an amusing stunt that they happily played along with. The encore was “Wouldn’t Want to Be Her,” a rocking number that ended the show on a happy note.

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."