BWW Reviews: Constantine Maroulis Rocks Houston with Solo Cabaret Concert
New York City has 54 BELOW, Broadway's living room, where big name acts do acclaimed intimate cabaret concerts. Since it's inception, I have longed for a similar experience in my neck of the woods. Producer Tyce Green, along with Houston's The Music Box Theater, is gifting Houston audiences with their own version of 54 BELOW's concerts with the "Straight From New York Concert Series." First, they brought Mary Testa to Houston, and now they are hosting Constantine Maroulis for four unforgettable, electric performances.
In the concert, Constantine Maroulis gladly takes center stage and delivers a wide range of songs that are significant to him as a performer. Bursting onto the stage with a rousing rendition of "Heaven On Their Minds" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, he easily fills the initiate venue with his emphatic passion for performing. Likewise, Constantine Maroulis's energy in performance is infectious, leaving the audience rocking in their seats, tapping their toes, and cheering and applauding with vigor during and after numbers.
Over the course of both acts, he bounces back and forth from radio hits to show tunes, and there is no denying that every song completely entertains the audience. Standouts from just the first act of his impressive set list include his stirring take on "One Song Glory" from RENT, his flawless "Pity the Child" from CHESS, his ebullient rendition of David Cassidy's "I Think I Love You," his stirring and sumptuous arrangement of "Unchained Melody," and his spin on Aerosmith's iconic "Cryin'." In the second act, he does a classy and smooth version of Van Morrison's "Moondance," introduces audiences to John Dempsey and Dana Rowe's BROTHER RUSSIA (which he promises we'll soon be seeing more of) with a fascinating performance of "Dolgaya River," a rousing mash-up, if you will, of "I Need to Know" and "This is the Moment" from JEKYLL & HYDE, and an impeccably moving version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Of course, his high energy encore performances don't disappoint either, so just know, despite what the program says, the show doesn't end with his fun, sing-a-long take on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
In between the numbers, Constantine Maroulis showcases his charming personality and spontaneous wit with vignettes from his personal life. Most of what he shares is filled with jest and endearing humor, but as an audience we definitely become emotionally connected to and invested in his performances as he unflinchingly shares some of his more recent struggles. He invites us, as if we were close friends, into his heart as he speaks about his father's recent passing. In these moments his vulnerability is tangible, making him not only an affable theatre geek, a rock star, and a Tony Award nominated performer, but a human being that we can't help but cherish.
I implore Houston audiences to venture out and snap up tickets to the remaining shows. This is one concert experience that you are sure to love, and one that will leave you humming many of your favorite tunes for some time to come. I can, in all honesty, assure you that you'll be sorry if you miss this opportunity to take advantage of seeing tried and true Broadway talent up close and personal in Houston.
Tyce Green and The Music Box Theater's presentation of Constantine Maroulis as part of their Straight From New York Concert Series, runs now through Sunday, January 12, 2014 at The Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt, Houston, TX 77098. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.themusicboxtheater.com or call (713) 522-7722.