One might think that I, being the theater nerd that I am, would spend a lot of time on Broadway. The sad fact, however, is that I do not. I simply can’t afford it. That’s where the magic of Feinstein’s 54 Below on West 54th street is a Godsend. It’s the perfect venue to see some of Broadway’s greatest for a fraction of the cost. Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of watching one John Lloyd Young’s newest set “John Lloyd Young’s Broadway.”
John Lloyd Young, 43, is most famous for originating the role of “Frankie Valli” in Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys and reprising that very same role in Clint Eastwood’s film version (Warner Bros, 2014). Young is both a Tony and Grammy award winner and is the only American actor to date to win the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award for a Broadway debut (2006).
Honestly, the show took my breath away (on many occasions). His voice is nothing short of spectacular. His range is somewhere around baritone with a flawless jump into a falsetto that makes even the most subdued song sound effervescent. “Never Will I Marry” from Frank Loesser’s Greenwillow and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miz were both standouts. He sings every song with such passion and fervor that it’s difficult not to be enraptured. His ability to embody every emotion in each of the songs makes for a truly magical evening.
If that’s not convincing enough, consider Young’s comedic timing. When flubbing the lyrics to “All I Care About” from Chicago, Young laughed it off and poked fun at himself all evening, making sure everyone there understood that this was a new addition to his set list. Then, during “One Last Kiss,” from Bye, Bye Birdie, Young channeled his inner-Elvis by playfully swiveling his hips.
In the words of the man himself “Be there or be square!”
Editor’s Note: You can follow John and 54 Below on social media.
Con Todo Mi Amor