Gregory Nalbone — The Sounds of My Heart

 

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by Joe Regan Jr.

 

On July 15 Gregory Nalbone returned to the Metropolitan Room after a two year absence with an entirely new show, The Sounds of My Heart. A capacity crowd of over 110 filled the room. Nalbone has an entirely new production team: Kenneth Gartman on piano and harmonizing vocals; Dan Fabricatore on bass; and Donna Kelly on percussion and drums. Nalbone has a new director as well, the award-winning Lennie Watts. Watts’ influence is very noticeable. Almost every lyric line is dramatically acted with gestures, facial expressions, and body energy; and the band pulsated continuously with an energetic beat.

Nalbone’s opening number was David Friedman’s “Listen To My Heart,” closely associated with Nancy LaMott. Nalbone sang the long, seldom-sung verse and then forcefully sang the familiar lyrics, soaring on the high notes. It was a very impressive opening and one wondered how it could be topped. He told us that he wanted to do a program of songs from his heart. To illustrate, he put the mic against his chest and we literally heard the pulsating beat of his actual heart!

With some funny autobiographical chatter (e.g. describing his new haircut), he did a wildly funny “My Fortune Is My Face,” the Styne/Comden & Green number written for Jack Cassidy in “Fade Out Fade In.” Nalbone played with a broken mirror and then did selfies with his iPhone, acting out the great comic number.

Nalbone slowed down a bit with “Titanium” a torch song about being rejected and bouncing back “because his heart is made of titanium,” but he returned to full force for the angry finish. There was autobiographical patter about his modeling career, his adult dancer career, and some of the mistakes he made with the men who stuffed dollar bills in his g-strings. Confessing to one particular incident led to a wildly descriptive version of Sondheim’s “I Never Do Anything Twice,” which the audience loved. This was followed by “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from Grease, not changing the gender lyrics.

Then there was a wonderfully personal and explicit tale about going to see Peter Pan (starring Sandy Duncan) in his special new gold and green Pierre Cardin suit and noticing the Gaiety Theater poster next door to the theater, causing him to become so erect that he climaxed in the theatre. From then on, he really did believe in fairies!

Nalbone later sang a very angry and loud “Goody Goody” spewing out lots of emotional revenge about the misfortune of the lover who rejected him. In it, he included special material about the ex-lover collapsing on a disco floor, while having a nose bleed, and losing all his money . . . and how happy Nalbone was about it. Again, his body action, gestures, and facial expressions were intense and on-the-nose. He talked about having to confess the pleasure of this revenge and being sure he would end up in hell, which he punctuated with the strongly Latin number “Sin” by Michael Holland.

Later, Nalbone briefly talked about the one great relationship he admittedly blew. The totally heartbreaking song he chose to back up his story was “Beautiful Goodbye” by Christopher Ward and David Tyson.

Suddenly there was a strong country western beat to Amanda Green’s “Every Time A Friend Succeeds” which Gartman sang with him in harmony on each chorus. A very lively number.

Nalbone’s best ballad of the night was Steven Lutvak and Carol Hall’s “I’ll Imagine You A Song,” detailing how he would like to re-activate his lost love through music.

Nalbone’s final number was “Let It Go” which had stunning power.

There is no question that this new act is a showcase for Nalbone’s powerful voice and ability to hit high notes without strain. But it is also a showcase for his strong acting chops. Each number was given a strong comic or dramatic performance. He’s not the performer he was two years ago. Rather, he is a stronger and better singer. There is no question that Lennie Watts and Kenneth Gartman deserve credit for creating the new Gregory Nalbone.

 

Gregory Nalbone’s The Sounds of My Heart repeats at the Metropolitan Room on Saturday, July 18 at 9:30 pm. Reservations are a must. Go to www.metropolitanroom.com or call 212-206-0440 for tickets.

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