Well is THIS a pleasant surprise. I suppose I am the only one on the planet who didn’t know who John Lloyd Young is. THAT’s over. The original Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, Lloyd Young has cashed in on his talent and good fortune to build himself a castle in the sky. He knows his niche, his music and his audience. His voice is rich, his style is smooth and reminiscent of the Rat Pack. His tuxedo is never unbuttoned. Unlike the Rat Pack, however, Lloyd Young is secure in his skin and generous to both his musicians and his audience.
This sixth appearance at the Carlyle, like the musical whence he comes, is 99% oldies. So of course I knew all of them. Some of them are recognizable by their first few notes: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Bob Crewe, Bob Gaudio); Roy Orbison’s Only The Lonely; Ooo Baby Baby (Pete Moore, Smokey Robinson). But nothing is a re-hash. Lloyd Young brings vibrance and panache to his music. This may be in part due to his collaboration with Tommy Faragher – Music Director, Album Producer, Arranger, Songwriter and Keyboards who has his own special touch. In addition they are assisted beautifully by Basheri Johnson on Percussion and Gokce Erem on Violin. So able is this trio that at times they sound like a kick ass orchestra.
So no one really bats an eye when Young gives up the stage for these performers to entertain us on their own. An act of generosity that I have never seen done in cabaret.
A welcomed addition to the past is the newly minted,rich and dreamy Slow Dawn Calling (Tommy Faragher, John Lloyd Young). Lloyd Young then slides seamlessly from English to Portuguese with Usted [You] (Gabriel Ruiz) and then back to Broadway with The Impossible Dream (Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion) which had a few too many embellishments and time was could have been the end of the evening. Lloyd Young is having so much of a good time that he could go on forever and never break a sweat. The rest of us are not made of such sturdy stuff.
He comes close to concluding with a spot-on Maybe I’M Amazed (Paul McCartney) in which the lyrics are as shiny as a new penny despite being decades old. And finally, because we would not let him leave the stage without giving us this, he concludes with Sherry (Bob Crewe, Bob Gaudio) – the song that made Frankie Valli famous and then launched John Loyd Young directly into our hearts.
John Lloyd Young – Heart to Heart at Café Carlyle — Performances will take place Tuesday – Saturday at 8:45pm. Weekday pricing begins at $90 per person / Bar Seating: $60 / Premium Seating: $140; Weekend pricing begins at $110 per person / Bar Seating: $75 / Premium Seating: $160. Reservations can be made by phone at 212.744.1600 or online via Ticketweb. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue). THROUGH February 24.