Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.
Don’t Tell Mama
November 12, 2013
Frank Torren’s new cabaret act entitled “Moment to Moment” embraces his theatrical memories, beginning when he was a young child growing up in the Latin Quarter in Tampa, Florida. He performed a dance act with his sister and they toured all over and even were invited to a festival in Cuba. One of his first roles as a child actor was the son of the Italian lover in Arthur Laurents’ “Time of the Cuckoo.” Years later, he worked with Laurents in the national tour of “Hallelujah Baby.”
His opening number, establishing what we will see, is a mix of “Mine for the Moment” and “From This Moment On.” Torren, clad in black tie and tuxedo, is a handsomely striking mature man and he reaches out in each selection to communicate directly to his audience. His superb music director/arranger is Rick Unterberg. In honor of his mother, he sings “Carina,” an Italian love song, and you don’t have to know Italian to understand what he is singing about. A tribute to his father’s support and praise of his theatrical experiences is a beautiful rendition of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s “It Amazes Me,” using the masculine pronoun. Torren also sings “Amor” in English and Spanish. And remembering Laurents and “Time of the Cuckoo,” he speaks the dialogue and sings the romantic lead’s song, “Take the Moment” from the Richard Rodgers-Stephen Sondheim musical version “Do I Hear A Waltz.”
A vigorous come-on is the lusty “Help Yourself,” a Tom Jones hit! He also tells about working a cruise ship as an adult and passing by Cuba, gazing at the beach and sings Frank Loesser and Victor Schertzinger’s “Sand in My Shoes” as a sad and appropriate memory. An admirer of Charles Aznavour, he tenderly sings “The Sound of Your Name” in tribute to him.
One of the rarest Mancini-Mercer songs, the title song from the Jean Seberg movie “Moment To Moment,” is given the full romantic delivery. His emotional delivery makes you realize what a neglected gem it is and what taste Torren has in his song selections.
One of his last numbers was a tribute to everyone’s favorite Julie Wilson who was in the audience. It was a song he loved that he heard Felicia Sanders sing. Without swinging it, he movingly sang the complete “In Other Words/Fly Me To the Moon,” and the crowd shouted “Bravo!”
Frank Torren “Moment to Moment’ will repeat at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46 Street, Monday November 18 and Wednesday, November 20, both shows at 7 pm. Reservations are strongly advised at www.donttellmamanyc.com or call after 4 pm 212 757-0788.