BWW Review: Anthony Nunziata Opens His Arms and His Heart At His BIRTHDAY BASH CONCERT at The Green Room 42
It is always exciting to get in on the ground floor of a talent that the world hasn't discovered. Imagine being one of the people who saw Kristin Chenoweth in STEEL PIER and who thought "she's going to be famous." Consider that phone commercial where the woman said "I asked her 'How are the children?' and she FLOURED the children!" and a few years later seeing her as Sue Sylvester on Glee. It's thrilling when you know that you're astute enough to spot someone's special light before they belong to the world.
It's not quite the same with Anthony Nunziata. Mr. Nunziata is already a famous and respected artist, known the world over for his concert performances, those performed with his brother, Will, and those performed solo. People have been enjoying his artistry for a long time, which is why every nightclub show he does in New York City is sold out, like last night's Birthday Bash Concert at the hip and happening club The Green Room 42. There was, though, something special in the air at that concert, and it's what is going to give all those attendees an opportunity to say they got in on the ground floor, before Anthony Nunziata belonged to the world. Because a major part of the celebration (other than Nunziata's upcoming birthday) is the upcoming release of his first cd, THE LOVE ALBUM, and when that cd drops, if there is any justice in this world, Anthony Nunziata will become the next big thing in boy singers.
With a voice and a sound (courtesy of an extraordinary team of musicians) reminiscent of the great vocalists of the 90's, Anthony conjures up visions of warm brandy and full moons, silk sheets and dark chocolate, and one languid look at the dawning sun as one falls asleep after a sultry all-nighter. It's like somebody took James Ingram, Celine Dion, Curtis Stigers and Oleta Adams, rolled them into one person, and when it still wasn't enough, added a healthy dose of Mama and Papa Nunziata, and this man was born. Nunziata's singing is like a ballet dancer's arm, every single note possessing follow-through. Or golf. Or life. In these things, follow-through is everything - and Mr. Nunziata's notes are, definitely, everything. Whether singing cabaret/concert fare like "Feeling Good" or pop songs like the (astonishingly arranged) mash-up of "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Unchained Melody" Mr Nunziata has the voice of a world-class pop singer. This voice can perform cabaret, it can sing Christmas, it even does Opera, but this voice is a voice designed to be famous. This voice is a voice you hear on the radio. This voice and the music it makes ... well, it's baby-making music, and that's just the most tactfully direct way of saying it. Even when singing "O Sole Mio" it's baby-making music.
Anthony Nunziata has been blessed, maybe twice, maybe thrice, maybe a hundred times. Aside from his otherworldly singing, Mr. Nunziata is quite the songwriter, and it is the combination of the two musical gifts that will probably see the prodigy standing at a podium with something shiny gold in his hand one day. The six original songs performed at the Birthday Bash Concert left the audience awe-struck. It would not have been surprising to see people get out their lighters and iPhone flashlights and wave them in the air. These melodies of such rich sophistication brush over the skin, leaving a trail of gooseflesh, while heart-piercing lyrics seep into the soul and stake their claim inside your being, now filled with poetry and promise, whether being performed by the songwriter himself or one of his guest stars, Caroline Cohen, who will be another artist this crowd will look at one day and say "Remember the time we saw her with Anthony Nunziata when she was 17?" Cohen's skillset as a singer goes far beyond her young years in a way that makes us old-timers wonder what 17-year-olds were doing when we were young.
Also featured in Mr. Nunziata's concert (immaculately directed by Mr. Will Nunziata) were a rocking good Kissy Simmons delivering diva on some Whitney, some Diana, and some Tammi, Lillias White bringing the down the house with some big-time blues, and the great Stephen Schwartz, playing piano for Anthony on one of his most glorious songs "Beautiful City," a particular highlight in an evening that was an embarrassment of riches. The presence of these exceptional artists in the evening showcased more than impressive musical talents, it showcased the love that people have for Anthony Nunziata, a love that washed over the entire audience. Nunziata imbues in the people around him such a sense of warmth and safety that there is no other choice but to simply surrender yourself to his charms and go on whatever journey, musical or spoken word, he has come to give you, and when you return from that journey, you can do so with the full knowledge that you were there when he was playing The Green Room 42.
Because one day it will be Madison Square Garden.
Anthony Nunziata's amazing band:
Musical director/Piano: Tedd Firth
Bass: Phil Palombi
Drums: Mark McLean
Reeds: Daniel Dickinson
Guitar: Steve Bargonetti
THE LOVE ALBUM will drop on February 14, 2020 to coincide with Anthony's Valentine's Day Concerts at 54 Below. For information and tickets visit the 54 Below Website
With Stephen Schwartz
Photos by Stephen Mosher