by Linda Amiel Burns
There are only two more chances to see the remarkable Todd Murray’s CROON show at The Triad on 8/23 & 8/25. You won’t want to miss this first-rate performance!
The lights go down at The Triad Theater as the music begins to play. A handsome singer, elegantly attired in a tuxedo, walks through the audience and starts to sing “Lover” (Rodgers & Hart). He stops to talk to the audience and we are already charmed as he struts up to the stage to sing “I Wanna Be Loved” (Green, Heyman & Rose) accompanied by wonderful musicians who are integral to the show. Alex Rybeck, the music director on piano, Steve Doyle on bass and Sean Harkness on guitar are superb. Listening to Todd’s remarkable voice and style brings us back to a time when there were great performers who moved audiences with their music….and that is what CROON is all about.
The definition of Croon is “to sing or hum in a soft, soothing voice i.e. to croon to a baby.” Todd performed the fun song by Coslow and Johnson, “Learn To Croon,” introduced by Bing Crosby, that shows the effect that “crooning” has on relationships. Before the invention of the microphone, singers sang loudly like those who performed in operettas, or like Al Jolson. Rudy Vallee had a small voice and used a megaphone to project. Once the microphone arrived, things changed dramatically as Todd demonstrated with the song “Whispering” (Armstrong) sung in a shouting manner, and then performed romantically as it should be. Singers were able to sing quietly and with more expression with the advent of the microphone. Radio became popular and singers like Bing Crosby in the 30’s, Frank Sinatra in the 40’s were able to reach wider audiences.
There were many highlights in this terrific show as each and every song was beautifully performed and the arrangements and accompaniment couldn’t have been more perfect. Todd shone on “The Nearness of You” (Carmichael & Washington), swung with “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” one of Sinatra’s biggest hits, and the sexy Latin feel of “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” (Osvaldo Farres, Eng Lyrics by Joe David) was haunting. To represent the sentimental songs of World War II, Todd performed the emotional Warren & Gordon “You’ll Never Know” (you went away and my heart went with you) about missing a loved one who has gone to fight overseas.
This well constructed show also described how the early crooners influenced later singers when he sang a medley of “Love Me Tender” with “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” that Elvis introduced. Todd’s lovely rendition of “If Ever I Would Leave You” (Lerner & Lowe), from Camelot, showed that romantic ballads also became part of the American musical theater. In the 60’s Burt Bacharach and Hal David were very popular and Todd sang “This Guy’s In Love” that included an excellent guitar solo by Sean Harkness. The audience eagerly served as back-ups when Todd sang Lou Rawl’s “You’ll Never Find.” Todd mentioned that when he went to auditions, he was asked to sing higher but being a bass baritone that was not possible, so he wrote this song “When I Sing Low” that the audience thoroughly enjoyed.
Todd Murray has it all! Aside from being movie star handsome (which doesn’t hurt), he has a sensational voice and every song is performed to perfection. The patter feels spontaneous, well thought out and always interesting. Very rarely when you go to cabaret these days do you see a flawless show starring a consummate performer singing a variety of quality songs, accompanied by top notch musicians. The show went by quickly, was thoroughly enjoyable, and I didn’t want it to end. I joined the ranks of “Todd Murray fans” (of which he has many). So if you are in the city next week, be sure to make reservations at The Triad on 8/23 & 8/25 to see the best show in town – Todd Murray’s Croon!
The Triad Theater Cabaret/ 158 West 72nd Street/NYC 10023 – upstairs.
For Reservations: www.TriadNYC.com
Next shows at 7:00PM August 23 & 25.