By Victoria L. Dammer

Award-winning producer, singer, music director, and over-the-top talented piano-playing entertainer Brian J. Nash roused the audience when he presented his Sunday Night Music Club at The Green Room 42.

Nash remarked this was his first time doing a solo show with a band since 2015 and his jokes continued to make guests laugh and what was so precious, he laughed with himself. His jokes were a little odd, but you sense there’s a deep-thinking mind in Nash’s head. It is often said creativity and intellect go together, and Nash surely displays both traits.

Nash played a variety of tunes, from Sondheim to Billy Joel and beyond, mixing in his crazy trademark “Nash-Ups,” which takes you across the universe of music eras. He nicknames some of his tunes, “Tragic Ballads,” but there’s nothing tragic about his style. He took up the piano after seeing Tori Amos when he was younger. Watching him athletically pound the keys is exhausting.

One of his first songs was Landed, written by Ben Folds, and featuring prominent piano. It’s a song about the insecurities and manipulation of relationships. Most of us can relate to the words of pain and strength. Nash’s vocal range was apparent right off the bat, capturing the attention of everyone in attendance as he sang the highs and lows of the tune.

Who doesn’t love a little Stephen Sondheim? We had the pleasure of hearing “Marry Me a Little” which reminded us why we miss the gifted Sondheim year after year. Another song about relationships and the fears we have about them, this song pulls at the heartstrings of those who were once “almost” lovers but afraid of full commitment. The audience would have loved more Sondheim by the accomplished man on stage; the audience wholeheartedly applauded Nash for his version of this early 80s melody.

Nash’s followers loved the Matt Alber hit End of the World, whose theme is love is a roller coaster ride, and it struggles with uncertainty. But it’s also a request to be courageous, and the song is both beautiful and painful. Most listeners agreed.

Nash did his “Mash-Up,” performing a mixed-up version of Billy Joel’s Scenes from an Italian Restaurant with everyone in the house singing along. Nash’s exuberant performance on the keys probably wore out the piano. Nash pulled out a Kazoo, so excited by his performance that he dropped it in the middle of the song and screamed, “F***.” That lit the room with even more howling laughter.

Nash played Tori Amos’s song Tombigbee, a song about the unfortunate treatment of Native Americans, followed by an electrifying rendition from Rent with Natalie Joy Johnson.

One could sense Nash wanted to play all night. He threw in some music from U-2, and Fleetwood Mac, then finished the evening with Johnson singing Midnight Radio, which reignited the crowd once again. When asked if he was a singer and not a comedian, he said, “I never know what I’m going to say onstage or perform. I have this stream of consciousness that just comes out.”

Don’t go see Nash if you want some quiet piano music to lull you to sleep. Go because you never know what you will hear or see on stage from the phenomenal Brian J. Nash, and that is to be celebrated.

Brian J. Nash in Sunday Night Music Club at The Green Room 42, 570 10th Avenue, New York 10036. with special guest star Natalie Joy Johnson