BWW Review: MICHAEL LONGORIA dazzled in 'Like They Do In the Movies' at The Green Room 42
Coming into a show by Michael Longoria, it's safe to say that his fans likely know what to expect by now. Even in an intimate cabaret setting, his voice packs a powerful punch. This proved to be a trait that he used early and often as he focused nearly exclusively on ballads. In each soaring number, this former Jersey Boys star became the balladeer extraordinaire, turning music from film into emotional melodies filled with hope, happiness, and longing. The major theme of many of these songs, pointed out by Longoria himself, was that a lot of these were what he called "Tragic Love Songs;" songs such as "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (Keith Forsey, Steve Schiff) and "My Heart Will Go On" (James Horner, Will Jennings) featured prominently.
While the connection to the movie may not have always been clear-it feels like nearly every song gets featured on a soundtrack eventually-Longoria did pull out one iconic theme song that seems to be taking on a life of its own after being synonymous with its muse in the early 80's, "Arthur's Theme" (Burt F. Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, Paul Allen). A charming tune like others of the time period that has one humming along, Longoria clenched the air with impassioned emotion before turning to a tender note for the chorus, "When you get caught between the moon and New York City/ the best that you can do is fall in love."
Clearly, not all the songs were tragic, though in other cases it may have been open to interpretation. One of my favorite performances of Longoria's came on The Righteous Brothers' classic, "Unchained Melody" (Alex North, Hy Zaret), where the combination of Longoria's slightly edgy style and big voice made lines like "I've hungered for your touch" and "God speed your love to me," more suggestive of an imagined future romance filled with desire rather than one of nostalgic memory for a hopeful embrace as apparent in the old timey classic.
Whatever the song, Longoria did a fabulous job of getting every ounce out of his voice in presenting it. He practically marked a spot on the stage from the energy of his own voice ricocheting throughout the venue. Although it wasn't all about Longoria, it was also an album release show for his latest, "Like they do in the movies." Check it out and his original as well as title song, "Kiss me like they do in the movies," for some quality music. Longoria was supported by a fantastic Brian Nash. He's been one of my favorite pianists, since I first saw him perform at The Duplex with another fantastic singer. David Cinquegrana on guitar, Lorenzo Wolff on bass, and Alex Wyatt on drums rounded out the remaining musicians. Backup vocals were provided by Ashanti J'Aria and Daniel Longoria.