BWW Review: Sean Patrick Murtagh Hits the Heights in MARIO! at The Green Room 42
Last night Sean Patrick Murtagh had his second of two encore performances of his New York City cabaret debut MARIO! The show has been covered by Broadwayworld Cabaret three times - once in an Interview with me, once in a Photo Flash by Stephen Sorokoff and once in a Review by Bobby Patrick. This writer, though, had yet to see the show, and after seeing what my BWW colleagues had to say about Murtagh and MARIO, after hearing all the buzz going around town about SPM, I thought it was time that I saw for myself what this man of the minute is producing over at The Green Room 42 that has everyone talking.
Everything you've heard is true.
Sean Patrick Murtagh is, indeed, matinee idol handsome. The lyric baritone-cum-tenor does, in fact, sing in ways that make you wish you had a hand to hold while listening. He is entirely deserving of the praise and the attention he is garnering at the moment, and this writer hopes he will take the praise and attention and use it as a springboard into a wider audience in the entertainment community of New York, cabaret or otherwise.
SPM tells his audience, out of the gate, that MARIO! is less about Mario Lanza and more about Mario Lanza's effect on his life. The truth is that I didn't really care about Mario Lanza. What do I know from opera? Russell Watson and Alfie Boe, that's what I know. But I do know gorgeous singing, and that's what Mr. Murtagh is lavishing upon his audiences. I do know about having a celebrity have an effect on your life. It's not a new theme. I don't think there is a person who doesn't get the concept of Murtagh's show, either. We've all had a famous person who was an idol, a hero, a mentor from afar. In my life I've known grown men who, in times of need, have turned to the artistry of Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Albert Finney, Eminem, Britney Spears and Jane Fonda for inspiration in life. My own celebrity idol is an actor named Gale Harold. Surely everyone who sees Mr. Murtagh's show has a full understanding of his relationship with this singer whom he never met; it is, though, the other relationships in his life that are more interesting and more relatable. Listening to Murtagh talk about his parents Danny and Sandy (you read that right), and hearing his impressions of his Irish and Spanish Grandmothers are the true windows into his heart and soul. His off-the-cuff remarks about his love life, and his humorous comments about his self-esteem are when SPM becomes more than marvelous, melodic matinee idol to his audience - he becomes someone we want to sit down with, and get to know. My date for the evening even remarked, as we were leaving, "Mario Lanza's great, but I'm more interested in his relationship with his voice teacher...THAT's the show I want to see." Murtagh is charming, honest, and willing to be open and vulnerable, and that's where you keep your audience, after getting them with your voice.
While MARIO! is a good and an enjoyable show that is worth seeing, the tribute being presented by Sean Patrick Murtagh at The Green Room 42 is less tribute to Mario Lanza, and more a tribute to hard work, study, focus and craftsmanship. One of the most telling points in the evening was when SPM went through the laundry list of sacrifices and chores he lived with to get his voice ready to sing Lanza's high notes. It's an inspiration that everyone should listen to and apply to their own lives. The truth is that it doesn't matter what Sean Patrick Murtagh's show is about, or who it's about. He could call his next show "Hot Irresistible Baritenor Makes Hearts Melt With His Voice" and people would (and should) show up - that's how special it is to sit in a room and listen to him sing. SPM can sing anything, as long as he just sings.
And one day a young singer will probably be doing his own tribute show, and the picture on the frame on the piano will be one of Sean Patrick Murtagh
MARIO! Plays The Green Room 42 November 19th at 7 pm. For information and tickets see their Website
Photos by Stephen Mosher