By David Walters
Making his Café Carlyle debut, Anthony Nunziata brought love, family, and friends with him to the stage and left the evening wealthier having added the audience to that personal trifecta.
It was an evening of songs encompassing longing, joy, the somber, and the all-embracing uplifting fun that broadly defines the many facets of the word love.
He currently has two albums out, Broadway World’s album of the year Together For Christmas, and The Love Album released on Valentine’s Day 2020, where most of the evening’s love song selections were drawn from. Fly Me To The Moon. I Only Have Eyes For You, and Can’t Help Falling in Love began the evening highlighting his sultry tenor voice before we slipped into the “palate cleanser” That’s Amore that had the audience singing along. There were also five original songs in the evening, one just two weeks old (you can hear his original work here), that were highlighted as Mr. Nunziata is an accomplished songwriter now making his home in the songwriting capital of Nashville.
Mr. Nunziata brings his whole self to his music, going deep within in order to fully express his take on a song’s meaning whether interpreting or composing. He reaches back into his personal history, being an 80s-90s kid from a close-knit Brooklyn Italian family that sat in the cradle of his Staten Island grandmother’s arm as she sang him Italian songs from her native Naples. When he shared those songs with us, there was a groundedness that descended upon his presence and came through in his vocalizing. What he gave to us that evening was not only himself but everything that he had experienced in his life prior to walking up on that stage. It takes artistic courage to open oneself up like that.
Backing, supporting, complimenting, and a shining star on his own on piano, Jeff Franzel, also debuting at the Carlyle, brought a passion to his piano accompaniment at times rising a la Jerry Lee Lewis as the music lifted both his body and his spirit off the bench. His piano virtuosity was itself a highlight of the evening.
The Café Carlyle, which opened in 1955 and is surrounded by the airy and whimsical wall murals of Marcel Vertès, is known for entertaining the well-to-do older crowd with American Standards. It is high on the wish list for many a singer due to the enormous talent that has stood on that stage through the years. The wait service guided by Mr. Allal Gogo, the menu selections, and the setting itself steeped in musical history present an evening to be added to your memories. Please, well-to-do or not, at some point in your life make this a priority.
Anthony Nunziata – through May 13 at Café Carlyle – tickets HERE
As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.