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BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below

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Serge Clivio Returns to 54 Below for the 4th Time

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below

The room at 54 Below tonight was rocking with the beats of many genres of music blended together into an evening of joy and gratitude. The show was billed as AN EVENING WITH Serge Clivio AND FRIENDS VOL. 2. There is truth in advertising. There were many friends who graced the stage with Clivio. This is the fourth time Serge has appeared at 54 Below including his previous Vol. 1 show which included some of the same friends gathered from his time at school and from the start-up company where he works. But tonight was a special night. After an especially challenging year, the singer was donating all the proceeds of tonight's show to Memorial Sloan Kettering. And even though Clivio said he didn't want the show to be about that (and it wasn't,) the fact that they were speaks volumes about the heart and soul of this young and talented performer.

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below
Serge Clivio & Drew Arisco
BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below
Jessica Kundla & Serge Clivio

Although he sang in many styles and with many partners tonight, at heart Clivio has the voice of an old-school rocker and the soul of an R&B singer. And even though he claims to be a ballad singer, he really excelled when cutting loose on the uptempo rock tunes. But his very best work tonight was done in the duets he shared with his equally talented friends. "If I Can't Have You" which he shared with Drew Arisco was wonderful and fraternal. He explored golden age musical theatre with Jessica Kundla in a medley that included "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "I Could Have Danced All Night." He plumbed the depths of romantic pathos with Molly Keane-Dreyer in Lady A's "What If I Never Get Over You?" He went full American Idol with Michael Mahady in the Sam Smith tune "Lay Me Down." He gave us a medley of Bublé-style jazz standards with Alexa Lebersfeld and Daniel Scott Walton. The medley included "Cheek to Cheek," "Firefly," "Orange Colored Sky," "Come Away With Me Tonight," and Amy Winehouse's "Valerie." Walton gave Serge Clivio a spirited run for his money with his soaring high notes and equally high energy. He deserves a solo show of his own. Alia Hodge made a perfect Disney princess in a soulful duet of the theme song from Beauty & the Beast.

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below
CaptioSerge Clivio & Michael Mahady
BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below
Daniel Scott Walton, Serge Clivio & Alexa Lebersfeld

But the best moments of the evening belonged to Clivio himself. Two original songs from his new EP, YOU, "Drive to You" and "Waiting on You (Show Me Your Love)" were terrifically passionate alt-rock tunes. His heartfelt rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" is something he should seriously consider recording. The emotional heart of the evening was a medley dedicated to the music his parents listened to while he was growing up. The medley of "I Need You, Lord," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Mustang Sally, " "I'm Your Baby Tonight," and "Only Love' had the house rocking. He was also quite affecting in the finale of his show, Miley Cyrus' "The Climb."

The mostly unsung hero of the evening was musical director and arranger, Mike Stapleton. He navigated the many styles with grace and aplomb. His settings of familiar tunes were creative and intriguing. He was also a deft conductor, leading his band through the taxing program. Youngchae Jeong on bass, Eric Derwallis on drums, and especially Mike Sewell on guitar did amazing work. For a show with so many guest stars, Serge Clivio's show was very tight and moved along at a brisk clip. It was a night-long party that was not only entertaining, but it also had its heart in the right place.

BWW Review: AN EVENING WITH SERGE CLIVIO AND FRIENDS, VOL. 2 Rocks the House at 54 Below

Serge Clivio's EP YOU is available on Spotify and other major streaming sources. For more information about Serge Clivio, visit sergeclivio.com or follow him @sergeclivio on Instagram or @SergeClivio on Twitter. For more great acts at 54 Below, visit 54below.com. To make a donation to Memorial Sloan Kettering, go to mskcc.org.


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