Josh Young Sings Andrew Lloyd Webber

 

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by Miriam Spritzer

 

Josh Young has definitely exceeded expectations on his first solo show at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Young connected songs from the popular composer to the story of his life, sharing anecdotes of his family, childhood, love stories, heartbreaks and days, as well as his struggle’s trying to make it in show business.

 

The concert started with “As If We Never Said Goodbye” (Sunset Boulevard) then, after talking with the audience for a bit, Josh took us to the beginning of his musical theatre influences, and relationship with his mom, by recreating part of the lyrics of “What’s New Buenos Aires,“ leading to his performance as Che in the Canadian version of Evita, from which he sung “High Flying Adored.”

 

Young made great use of humor, contrasting a comedy song, or a song used as a joke in the performance, to songs that were sung more seriously and moved the narrative forward. For example, before singing “Heaven on Their Minds,“ from Jesus Christ Superstar, where he made his Broadway debut, he teased the audience playfully singing a couple of verses of “The Old Gumbie Cat“ from Cats.

 

I always enjoy seeing a musical theatre performer in a cabaret format, as it gives the audience a chance to see their personality and what they bring to a song without necessarily playing a character.

 

Young managed to engage the audience and it wasn’t only through his charisma and talent. He created an activity before the show where the audience received a card to write down verbs, adjectives and objects creating new lyrics to one of the most iconic songs in musical theatre, “Music of the Night.” After that hilarious version, Josh performed “Till I Hear You Sing Once More” (Love Never Dies), a bold movement putting the two songs together as they are usually compared by Lloyd Webber fans.

 

From The Phantom of The Opera, in addition to “Music of The Night,“ Young also sang “Point of No Return“ and “Wishing You Are Somehow Here Again“ which, although wonderfully performed, were not the most flattering songs for him.

 

Now, speaking of a flattering song, “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar, was a great choice to show off  Young’s vocal abilities. It is one of the most challenging songs of this repertoire and he hit each note perfectly. The song was a surprise because it didn’t really fit the narrative nor a role he had played, adding a surprise element and resulting in a standing ovation.

 

Another highlight from the evening was his version of “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” (Evita) and “Tell Me On A Sunday” (Song and Dance), with  incredibly interesting arrangements. And, of course, it wouldn’t be an Andrew Lloyd Webber concert without the famous “Love Changed Everything” (Aspects of Love).

 

Brian Lowdermilk was responsible for the orchestrations, musical direction and was the pianist alongside Kevin Ramessar on guitar, and it must be noted that his arrangements were absolutely gorgeous, especially “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” Lowdermilk also had the role of entertaining the audience on a sing-a-long version of “Take That Look Off Your Face“ (Song and Dance), while Josh Young took a quick break.

 

The show ended with “Memory” (Cats), closing the narrative and bringing together all the moments in Josh’s life until this point. As an encore, Young sang “Run Away With Me,” by Brian Lowdermilk, a beautiful and a lovely homage to the musical director.

 

Directed by Marcus Stevens, Josh Young Sings Andrew Lloyd Webber at 54 Below was a well written and very enjoyable concert. However, as a reviewer, I would have loved to see a bit more spontaneity, especially during moments where conversations with the audience felt a bit too scripted. Still, it was a fabulous evening, with sensational songs beautifully performed and, I got to know a little bit more of Josh Young’s world.

www.Feinstein’s/54Below.com  254 West 54 Street, NYC

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