Robin’s Review: The Pop Show Presents….Billy Joel (at Birdland)
William Blake (Male Vocalist of the Year, BWW Cabaret Awards — his emotional performance was gripping!), Ron Bohmer (A Little Night Music, Ragtime, The Phantom of the Opera, The Scarlet Pimpernel), Tony Award Nominee Will Chase (“Smash”, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Aida, Billy Elliot, Rent, Miss Saigon — charisma to boot and beautiful voice!), Christian Macchio (lead vocalist of “Captain Jack”), Julia Murney (Wicked, Lennon, The Wild Party, Saved! – she’s great in everything!), singer-songwriter Samia Najimy Finnerty, N’Kenge (Motown The Musical, Sondheim on Sondheim — powerhouse pipes!), Matt Shingledecker (West Side Story, Rent, Spring Awakening) and American Idol Top 10 Finalist Erika Van Pelt, Darren Ritchie (Standby, Wonderland, Little Shop of Horrors, Dracula, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Dwelvan David (Songs for a New World, The Wiz, Ragtime, Show Boat), Alex Goley (Big River, Berenstain Bears Live!), Jeff Ostermueller (Spring Awakening, Seussical) and Yaniv Zarif (Carousel) were all part of the stellar lineup for The Pop Show Presents…Billy Joel! this week at Birdland Jazz Club.
Moderated by John Capo, the creator and producer of The Pop Show, The Pop Show is part of the Broadway at Birdland series presented by Jim Caruso. The Pop Show features music direction by the talented Benet Braun.
What is The Pop Show? Each month, a different pop music theme is presented…could be country… could be 70s soul or 80s glam. It could be an entire concert of Amy Winehouse songs. Or The Doors. Or One Direction. (But probably not One Direction.) For example, they previously did Elton John. Given the versatility and prowess of the band, there’s not much they can’t play! (Really loved the sax instrumentals!)
Since releasing his first song “Piano Man”, Billy Joel has achieved 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. The July edition of The Pop Show celebrated the song catalog of this prolific songwriter and singer who has sold more than 150 million records worldwide. I didn’t know the scope of Joel’s life and musical inspiration, and thanks to the details shared by Capo, knowing the back story that lead Joel to pen some of his biggest hits pulled me all the more into the music, with a deeper sense of appreciation. Joel’s life, itself, is prime for a theatrical treatment (remember…you heard it here first!).
In a nutshell, THE POP SHOW rocks…or should I say pops?! It was fun, affecting and engaging, and makes for a wonderful date night or girls night out. If you haven’t been….go! And, consider dining there. The food, with a southern/soul influence, is delicious.Visit http://www.PopShowNYC.com. The show is taking a break for August, but sign up for the email list to hear what’s next up for the show on September 16th and beyond. You can also phone 212/581-3080. Tickets are $30-$35, with a food/beverage minimum of $10. Birdland is located at 315 west 44th Street, off 8th Avenue, in NYC.