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Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

The song-and-dance man and Broadway ensembler makes for one heck of a solo act.

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

In January Jess LeProtto made his Green Room 42 solo show debut with a cabaret show titled GOTTA BE ME, and this admitted admirer of the triple threat was unable to attend but, thanks to the generosity of the venue, was able to watch a video of the show, recorded during the live stream. That show video received a positive review from Broadway World Cabaret, and the relationship between LeProtto's solo show and Broadway World Cabaret should have ended there. However, this last weekend LeProtto brought Gotta Be Me back to the club (which was having a REALLY good week last week), and something in the universe said, "See this show in person."

Thank goodness.

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Watching Jess LeProtto on camera is a good thing, and a thing worth doing; indeed, it can be done often, thanks to YouTube and all of the triple threat's on-camera appearances. It cannot, however, sufficiently communicate to an audience member the sheer force of electricity that Mr. LeProtto brings to the stage when delivering a live performance. For a large part of the last century, people have been using the term "triple threat" to describe an actor who can act, sing, and dance, but the words triple threat simply won't do when it comes to Jess LeProtto. Something along the lines of Talent Tsunami would be more appropriate. On Sunday night, Jess LeProtto performed what cannot be called a cabaret, will not be labeled a concert, and could possibly be referred to as a solo show. This was a nightclub act. In the heyday of club entertainment, when enormous stars like Chita Rivera and Sammy Davis Jr. performed in swanky clubs that were frequented by the famous and dreamt of by the public, what those stars presented were Nightclub Acts. Jess LeProtto's Gotta Be Me is a good, old-fashioned, bonafide nightclub act with a swingin' band, an excellent setlist, and a leading man who is comfortable just talking to his audience or giving full-on MGM. In fact, at one point in the program, LeProtto remarked that his favorite movie musical is Singin' In The Rain, which is appropriate because he should be playing Gene Kelly right now. Whatever plans Hollywood has for the telling of the Gene Kelly story, the man who should be playing the legendary song-and-dance man is Jess LeProtto. Until that time comes, perhaps somebody could do a production of Pal Joey for LeProtto so that he might follow in the footsteps of Mr. Kelly, the original Pal Joey. In the novel, in the play, in the movie, a major part of the Joey Evans character is his magnetic, sexy, charismatic, even bewitching, personality. This is Joey Evans, right here. Pick the Vera Simpson of your dreams, put her next to Jess LeProtto in your mind, and while away the day in a beautiful Broadway reverie. In the meantime, on the subject of Gotta Be Me...

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 For this hour-long program, Mr. LeProtto taps into the many facets of his life, applying to the stories (primarily) about New Jersey, family, and show business, a series of songs easily recognizable and extremely fun. With incomparable skill and unfathomable ease, LeProtto fills the room with strong, powerful vocals, and riveting yet laid-back terpsichore. It would not be appropriate for the Broadway veteran to do an act where dance was not a part of the program, so this is a dance-heavy show, and he manages to make every inch of the stage all his own, and though it isn't a Broadway stage, his use of the boards for his dance talents makes it appear as though he is on the stage of Radio City Music Hall. Every moment of Gotta Be Me is one filled with pure show business entertainment and absolute human connection. Whether wowing the crowd with a medley of Doo-Wop songs inspired by his father, dedicating a tune to his mother (watching on live stream) in his friendship-themed mashup, or honoring his status as a Jet and as a Newsie in an inspired arrangement by wonderful Musical Director Sonny Paladino, LeProtto is completely in the pocket as a storyteller and as a singing and dancing actor. Overwhelmingly charming and deliciously funny, Jess is also very heart-full, discussing the value of working with good people who leave their personal impressions on your life, and the importance of creating art, which he does, as easily as any other person draws breath, and not just as a performer. It turns out Jess LeProtto is a songwriter, something everyone learned during the January production of Gotta Be Me. This time around, the noteworthy songwriting skills of this up-and-coming composing creative nabbed four track slots in the setlist, and each of the four songs show that LeProtto may be a song-and-dance man today, but he's not staying there. Whether leaning into the musical theater genre with songs inspired by Singin' In The Rain ("Walk Between Raindrops") and A League of Their Own ("There's No Cryin'!" -- and if someone isn't already working on this, LeProtto needs to NOW) or serving up tender-hearted ballad in a song titled "Fly With The Wind" inspired by UP (that every singer will want to perform) or giving out chart-topping radio vibes with a brand-new paean to Jersey called "Hazel (By the Bay)," not only are the songs Jess writes winners, with his own vocals, they are champions.

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Genuinely one of the most well-rounded, fully fleshed-out, and thoroughly entertaining club acts available today, Gotta Be Me is a show that every lover of live entertainment should see... as soon as LeProtto (a constantly working actor) is free to do it again. The song-and-dance man is about to start work on the new Neil Diamond musical, so he may be tied up for a while. But an actor with a job is a beautiful thing, and the intimate stages of the nightclubs of the world aren't going anywhere; they will wait for the self-professed song-and-dance man to return. And when he declares he is a song-and-dance man, Jess LeProtto isn't kidding: he is.

He is that, and so much more.

The Gotta Be Me Musical Director is Sonny Paladino on piano. The fantastic Gotta Be Me Band is Grant Braddock on drums, Yuka Tadano on bass, and John De Simone on sax, clarinet, and flute.

Find great shows to see at The Green Room 42 on their website HERE.

HERE is the Jess LeProtto Twitter page and THIS is Jess's Instagram page.

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42

Review: Jess LeProtto Stakes His Claim With GOTTA BE ME at The Green Room 42 Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher