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Tom Wopat at 54 Below

 

 

Written by Susan Hasho

 

 

Last Thursday night had a great band led by Ted Firth, Tom Wopat’s arranger/accompanist who was joined by Peter Grant (drums), Ed Howard (Bass), Brett Johnson (Trombone) and Bob Malach (Saxophone).

Wopat was encouraged 12 years ago to record a “Sinatra-ish record” and has subsequently, over time, made CDs and developed this nightclub act. Thursday night he was often the nightclub/lounge singer version of himself.

He led in with Devil May Care. And saying, “Let’s rock it” with cool, casual finger-snapping ease, he established his intention for the evening. He sang But Not for Me offhandedly with a great big band sound behind him. And the song Twisted (Joni Mitchell, “my analyst told me…”) was fun though it lacked the punch and speed it usually merits.

When he picked up his guitar to sing a song he wrote (Thailand Sea), his performance moved into much different territory. Joni Mitchell’s Two Grey Rooms, about the rediscovery of a former lover, was bluesy and intimate; and Bruce Springstein’s Meeting Across the River revealed a good deal of Wopat’s depth and artistry. He gave us a “Broadway twofer”—A New Town Is a Blue Town (Pajama Game) and Jet Song (West Side Story) which were both beautifully done.

Tom Wopat is an extremely gifted actor with a gorgeous, versatile singing voice. But he seemed such a contradiction in performance. He’s a first rate talent who seems to think of himself as second rate in some way. I would love to see him risk more in order to dazzle us—he could dazzle us.

54Below.com   (646) 476-3551

 

 

About The Author

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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