BWW Reviews: Jeremiah James Rocks Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal
Tall and sexy 'matinee idol' handsome Broadway and London West End actor/singer Jeremiah James performed at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal Sunday September 22 with his all-new show Choose Love. As special guest star, James made a wise choice with his high school friend the beautiful Cherish Lee. So, with two very appealing looking artists onstage, how can you miss? The show was more than off to a grande start, before it began. Add as musical director the prolific David O, and it doesn't get much better than this. On bass Oliver Steinberg accompanied, and on percussion, Emiliano Almeida.
Choose Love celebrates all kinds of man/woman relationships from first crush to dating to breakup, moving on to the real thing, that special true love that hopefully will last a lifetime. James is blessed with such a solidly rich and evocative baritone/tenor instrument that his voice suits big stagy tunes like Rodgers' and Hammerstein's "If I Loved You" from Carousel to the letter, but he also has a nice gentle way with a pop tune like "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which he so wonderfully delivered in duet with Lee. Other examples of the pop genre which he included in the set: as rousing opener, Bert Kaempfert's "L-O-V-E", Barry Manilow's dynamically thrilling "Even Now", Joni Mitchell's gorgeous "Both Sides Now" and again Bacharach and David with their upbeat grabber "There's Always Something There to Remind Me".
James cannot help but sound theatrical, as he has been singing onstage in musicals since boyhood, but his big beautiful voice, even in its lower range with low key delivery, adds color, dimension and further pleasure to just about any song he sings. There was Adam Sandler's light and amusing "Grow Old with Me", the reflective "Always On My Mind" and Dino Martin's frivolous "Outta My Mind". James introduced a new song by Jill Santoriello, composer of A Tale of Two Cities, along with co-composer Jason Huza entitled "What More Could I Wish For". Great stuff! He ended is fast-moving 70-minute set with Bobby Darin's lovely plaintive "The Curtain Falls".
Cherish Lee performed the Bacharach duet with James and then a second, the delightful "If You Talk in Your Sleep". Pals since high school, there is terrific chemistry between the two. Possessing a real sultry style, she also performed her own composition "California", a huge country music hit. But... her greatest triumph came with "Bill" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein the 2nd from Showboat. Her natural delivery of the classic was simply stunning.
This was a wonderfully entertaining evening of song wrapping show and pop tunes around the ever familiar theme of love, made memorable by the virtuoso performances of the two artists and great accompaniment at the piano by David O. James is a super talented singer oozing with personality, who knows how to put his fun self-deprecating style of humor to its best possible use. He really captivates and holds an audience. Bravo!