BWW Reviews: Eric Jordan Young 'Once In A Lifetime'
Friday night in Las Vegas was a special night, indeed. It was then that gifted hyphenate (singer-dancer-actor) Eric Jordan Young made his solo performance debut on the Las Vegas stage. That night, he brought his show, Once In A Lifetime, to Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
I met Young when he was starring in Vegas! The Show, the musical history of the city told from the point of view of the entertainment scene. He played multiple parts, including Ernie, the maintenance man at the Neon Graveyard, the Las Vegas museum where no-longer-used neon signs are put to rest. But Young does not rest. In fact, for the past 18 years or so, he's been busy performing on Broadway and traveling around the USA in road companies.
For Vegas! The Show he was twice voted BroadwayWorld's Best Male Lead Performer In A Las Vegas Strip Musical
Young explained to the audience that, growing up in Buffalo and Saratoga Springs, NY, he watched all the variety shows on TV and, that way, saw the best talent playing at the time. He was, he said, particularly drawn to "a little chocolate man" and wanted to do what he did. That man, of course, was Sammy Davis, Jr. and Young has succeeded. He not only does Sammy and Me, a tribute show, but he does a lot of Davis' music in his regular show.
Friday night he performed "Once In a Lifetime, That Old Black Magic, Where or When, Downtown, Candy Man, Hey There, I've Got You Under My Skin, What Kind of Fool Am I, Home, Night Song, I'll Cover You, Keep Your Eye On the Sparrow, Birth of the Blues, Mr. Bojangles, Putting It Together" and ended with a kick-ass version of "I've Gotta Be Me."
Here is clearly a man who loves theater and for audience members like me, the set list - heavy on show tunes and made even more interesting with the inclusion of, for example, "Downtown," - was a terrific one. It was a wonderful evening.
His performance was enhanced by a top-notch band: Michael Gonazlez, MD and keyboards, along with Michael Moreno drums; Jamie Hosmer keyboard #2; Brian Bissell guitar; Blaise Sison II bass; Alex Jackson sax/flute; Mike Robb, trumpet and JF Thibeault trombone.
The audience included lots of Young's family and friends, but there were also many who had never seen Young before and were there at the recommendation of other people. I asked one such woman if she'd enjoyed it. "Yes!!" she replied with great enthusiasm. "I can't believe I've gone all this time not seeing him. I'll do what I can to make up for lost time."
Hopefully, some discerning producer was in the audience that night and we will soon see Young in his own show. I will tell you Eric Jordan Young is one of the most talented people in Las Vegas these days. And, trust me, I am very critical. So, if I say it, I mean it.
Photo of Eric Jordan Young at Cabaret Jazz, June 27, 2014 © Ed Foster Photography