BWW Review: Marty Thomas Reclaims His Time At THE SECOND CHANCE PROM at The Green Room 42
Marty Thomas is one of the most thrilling performers ever to land on any stage anywhere, and everyone knows it. Marty Thomas captured the hearts of many who are enamored with his talent and personality, and everyone knows it. Marty Thomas has also been missing. And everyone knows it. Last night, in a show filled with that most rarest of things, absolute honesty, Marty Thomas spoke about where he has been, what he was been doing, how he has been feeling, and, in a defiantly optimistic manifesto, Marty Thomas has announced that he is back.
Well, Marty, this is your time.
In the cabaret and concert scene, there is something called "The Special Event" and it is exactly what it sounds like. Benefits, opening nights, book/cd/dvd releases, charities, milestones - anything that happens once, maybe twice and is a cause for great celebration is a special event. Last night at The Green Room 42, there was a Special Event to celebrate the release of Marty Thomas' new cd SLOW DANCING WITH A BOY (Broadway Records), and while the release of the cd is a reason to celebrate, it is not what made last night a special event. Marty Thomas made last night a special event; indeed, Marty Thomas made last night THE special event. It may have been the most special event of 2020 and it was only January 5th! Naturally, the cd is spectacular, and of course, the music at last night's party was unparalleled, and certainly, the performers on the stage with Marty were magnificent, but it can and will not be denied that Marty put the Special in the Event by opening up and sharing himself, and all his humanity, with a sold-out room of family, friends, and fans.
Explaining that the impetus behind the creation of the cd and the show titled The Second Chance Prom was his unhappy memory of being a gay teenager in a rural, conservative, religious town and home, where he was not able to be himself, where he was not able to have the Prom experience he wanted and deserved. This unhappiness during his formative years leaving a mark that lasted the rest of his life, Mr. Thomas did that which all have been advised to do, but not all are successful at achieving. Marty Thomas took his broken heart and made it into art. Slow Dancing With a Boy is a deeply personal exploration of the music that Mr. Thomas feels expresses those memories and the dream of the memories that might have been, had he been less afraid and more empowered to live life as his most authentic self. Marty Thomas' cd Slow Dancing With a Boy and his concert The Second Chance Prom are both examples of some of the most artistic and credible musical storytelling put on display this century, possibly ever.
To ensure the mood of the evening, Marty Thomas (arguably one of the best party-givers the city of New York has) created an honest to goodness Prom, complete with Prom decorations (natch, in the best of taste), a Prom photographer, a DJ, a Prom band, and a call to all attendees to arrive in their best regalia (some of us working folk had to arrive in our day wear, but the Parade of Fashion was certainly a visual feast to be enjoyed, and maybe a little bit envied). His at-capacity crowd dressed to the Nines, Thomas made sure that nobody would miss his entrance, with a delayed start time ("Sorry we were late, but I AM gay") that nobody minded because all were aware that after the performance was over, The Second Chance Prom would begin. Splendiferously attired in an astonishing bead-encrusted white suit with accessories that even Billy Porter would envy, Marty Thomas joined his band and Team Thomas on the stage to provide a thrill-a-minute, two-hour concert, abounding with the death-defying vocals for which he has been famous since the age of 13. Describing the cd and the process of creation, Mr. Thomas bared all through his rhetoric and his music, performing songs from the Jamey Ray produced and arranged disc alongside guest artists like Mykal Kilgore and Rachel Potter, as well as Mr. Ray himself, backed by the fierce and chic and real singers Alex Ortega, Lisa Ramey, Marissa Rosen, Yvette Rovira, Jenifer Thigpen, Gabe Violett, Sarah Whittmore, and an incredible band that featured Adam R. McDonald (piano), Derek Swink (Drums), Matt Hinkley (guitar) and Mark Verdino (Bass) and musical director, Ray. The soul-baring celebration of life, music, growth, and living in the light was so mind-blowingly exciting that The Green Room 42 might wisely consider inviting Mr. Thomas to embark upon one of their much-lauded and respected residencies. It's difficult to know what affected the audience more, the singing or the conversation, because as fall-down funny as Marty Thomas can be, the sudden appearance in his club act of abject honesty and the sharing of stories mirroring experiences and emotions that many people in the room probably found relatable almost snagged the spotlight from his voice.
The famed Thomas voice is different now. Still beautiful, still unique it has the same power, the same skill, the same thrill factor - only now it is informed by Marty's life experience from a journey that many people may not have known wasn't as bright as Marty's couture.
Marty Thomas has had a long history in show business and in New York. He has made a name for himself as a happy, cheerful, upbeat man and entertainer, a showman whose hosting abilities have made him famous around town. He has acted as entertainer, impresario, and bon vivant. His lifestyle, his work, and his social media have displayed the life of a man who had everything he wanted. Therefore, those members of the audience last night not members of the Thomas inner circle could not have known, until Marty divulged the information, that in recent years he has been in a dark place, in a state of depression about many aspects of his life, about his career, about his personal life. Listening to his open, frank, honest admissions about his journey into the darkness and back into the light was akin to meeting a new person, one unlike the previously experienced Marty Thomas - a person with all the joy and excitement everyone loved in Thomas, but a person with something more -- a depth of feeling, a more accessible expressiveness based more on human empathy than on vocal expertise. To conquer the dark times, Marty Thomas drove into the pain, indeed, into the fire, and has emerged, like a Phoenix, more resplendent and beautiful than ever, and in his hand, The Phoenix is holding a new work of art, masterful and magnificent. This is Marty Thomas' time, and it looks like he knows it.
"2020's my bitch!" cried out Marty Thomas last night.
And the crowd roared in affirmation.
Yes. It is definitely time for Marty Thomas.
To purchase SLOW DANCING WITH A BOY please visit the Broadway Records website
Learn about The Green Room 42 shows by visiting their website
Marty and Mykal Kilgore
Marty Thomas and Team Thomas (L to R) Jamey Ray (just barely visible behind the piano), Rachel Potter, Jenifer Thigpen, Yvette Rovira, Alex Ortga, Gabe Violett, Liza Ramey, Marissa Rosen, Sarah Whittemore
The After Party:
Mr. Marty Thomas
Photos by Stephen Mosher
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