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BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT Is On The Stage

UNA NOCHE ENCANTADA is more than Enchanting - it is perfection.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage

Picture this: you begin listening to music as a toddler, you spend your entire life dedicated to the consumption of great music and great singers, you think you've heard the best there is, you think you know singing. Then you see Paulo Szot live in concert and realize that you don't know singing at all.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage Ok, that's hyperbole, But it actually isn't. The world has been populated with exceptional singers who have been born and who have been created, and there's no need to compare them because they are all beautiful. Every now and then, though, you find yourself in a room with a singer who just takes your breath away, who makes you weep, just from that with which they were born and that which they learned along the way. Paulo Szot is just such a singer. Apparently, lots of people know that, too, because this writer has been covering 54 Below since the supper club reopened, and last night's performance of AN ENCHANTED EVENING (also being called UNA NOCHE ENCANTADA) was sold out in the same way that pre-pandemic Jeremy Jordan shows were sold out: and it was a wonderful thing, seeing all the beautiful faces of 54 Below patrons and Paulo Szot devotees, blissfully enjoying so spectacular a night out. One had only to take their eyes off of the opera divo and look around the room and one would see enough happiness to keep the rest of the weekend warm and contented, in the heart where it is essential. It was a sight to behold, special, and filled with wonder and life-affirming humanity.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage Sitting at the table, listening to the band (read: mini-orchestra) warm-up, tuning their instruments, fine-tuning their connection to one another, it was not a far stretch to imagine yourself in a Broadway theater or a concert hall - it wasn't just the sound of instruments, but the elegant look of a stage full of musicians, resplendent in their finery, and taking up every last inch of the stage. It was clear that Mr. Szot would be doing none of the dancing one sees at a 54 Below show from Tony Yazbeck or the action that would happen a few hours later when Blaine Alden Krauss hit the same boards. Paulo Szot was going to park and bark, and that would be just swell.

Swell doesn't even begin to cover it.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage UNA NOCHE ENCANTADA is Mr. Szot's ninth time at 54 Below and he has filled the evening with classic musical theater and songs from other countries that people might know already but don't need to know because every selection performed throughout the hour-plus performance is glorious, and not just because of Mr. Szot's skill as a singer. Visitors to the basement who did not have the luck of seeing Szot in South Pacific on Broadway will have multiple chances to see why he took home a Best Actor Tony Award, especially during this "Being Alive" - the best one this writer has ever seen live, and the best heard since Judy Kaye sang it on the Stephen Sondheim Evening album. Szot's is an emotionally charged and intellectually informed evening of musical storytelling throughout, but the program also benefits from an affable air that is present any time during which he speaks to the audience, whether simply setting up a song, providing little known facts about a composer, or recounting amusing tales from his childhood. At times, Mr. Szot even grins like a mischievous boy with a secret - perhaps it is the secret of how to take an operatic voice and meld it into some smoothly jazz-infused Romberg and Hammerstein, then bend it to a ton of show tunes before diving deep, back into the sound where he lives and gives others life, the sound of a true-blue, bona fide opera star. For no matter how glorious Mr. Szot sounds on multiple performances of perfect Rodgers and Hammerstein or two thrill-inducing numbers by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion, nothing could possibly compare to those moments when Paulo breaks out his opera training with Spanish-language compositions that leave you starry-eyed and in disbelief from what you've just heard, particularly a late-in-the-show tango that will linger, long after the show is over.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage

Particular mention should be made of the incredible support that Mr. Szot receives from Musical Director Luke Frazier and the members of the American Pops Orchestra, who aren't just a pleasure to listen to, but a joy to watch, particularly when acknowledging Mr. Szot's talented efforts after any number that has gone especially well - the respect among all the musicians on the stage is a satisfying thing to see. And on the topic of the musicians, they themselves are responsible for some of the evening's thrills, as throngs of people sigh upon hearing the opening strains of music that inform them that Paulo Szot is about to sing their favorite song from Les Miserables, The King and I, or, yes, even South Pacific. The anticipation of the voice is just as important as hearing the voice...

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage But, just being in the room with the voice, with the personality, with the man that is Paulo Szot, is an experience everyone should have, at least once. Fortunately, Paulo and 54 Below seem to have a good thing going, and that means he will be back time and again - as soon as July 19th - a perfect opportunity for everyone to test their own personal knowledge of what singing really is.

The Una Noche Encantada musicians are Regino Madrid, Dilyana Tsenov, Modesto Marcano, Samuel Quiggins, Daniel Berkery, Greg Watkins, and Musical Director Luke Frazier

Paulo Szot SOME ENCHANTED EVENING or UNA NOCHE ENCANTADA returns to Feinstein's/54 Below on July 19th at 7 pm. For information and tickets visit the 54 Below website HERE.

Visit the Paulo Szot website HERE.

BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage
BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage BWW Review: AN ENCHANTED EVENING at Feinstein's/54 Below Is Easy When PAULO SZOT  Is On The Stage Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher