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BWW Review: NICOLAS KING: HINDSIGHT IS 2020 is a Joy From Start to Finish at The Green Room 42

Nicolas King Has the World on a String

BWW Review: NICOLAS KING: HINDSIGHT IS 2020 is a Joy From Start to Finish at The Green Room 42
Photo Credit: Stephen Mosher

If it's true that the only cure for tragedy is joy, then the best antidote for more than a year of isolation and loneliness might be Nicolas King. His new show, Nicolas King: HINDSIGHT IS 2020 opened this evening at The Green Room 42. And it was joyous from start to finish, even the sad parts. Nicolas King, (Beauty and the Beast, A Thousand Clowns, Hollywood Arms)

BWW Review: NICOLAS KING: HINDSIGHT IS 2020 is a Joy From Start to Finish at The Green Room 42
Photo Credit: Stephen Mosher

who's been acting and singing since he was 4 years old, has only gotten better with the passage of time. He reminded us of his long career, with a highlights video at the top of the show, including his instantly recognizable Lunchables commercial as an adorable child.

What followed though was not the work of a child. It was 70 minutes of awesome jazz technique, great storytelling, and honest showmanship. The evening was not about the details of the pandemic we've almost survived, but rather about the lessons learned during this time that have made us better, more hopeful, and kinder. He acknowledges his musical influences with love and gratitude: Mel Tormé, Charles Aznavour, Fred Astaire, Carol Burnett, and most especially his mentor, Liza Minnelli. Their work shows up in his style, but in the end, his style is all his own.

King greeted us with Andrew Lloyd Webber's "As If We Never Said Goodbye" with lyrics specially crafted to welcome us all back to live music performances. He has a voice as warm as summer rain and as dextrous as a figure skater. I was especially fond of Harold Arlen's "I've Got the World on a String," which featured the first of several instrumental breaks by Mike Renzi.

And can we stop and talk about the Mike Renzi Trio for a moment? It's a very lucky jazz singer who gets the support of such fine artists. He has written arrangements for some of the greats, including Mel Tormé. Along with Steve Doyle on bass and Ray Marchica on drums, Renzi layered his brand of magic underneath Nicolas King's own special magic. Watching the two of them interact was a privilege.

Some of the musical highlights included Eddie Rabbit's "On Second Thought," a wistful rumination about a breakup, James Taylor's "Secret O' Life," some sage-like wisdom about the passage of time, and Charles Aznavour's "You've Let Yourself Go," a lovely story song about the difficulty of going the distance. King brought a nurturing touch to Sondheim's "Children Will Listen" and used Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" as a warm-spirited audience sing-along. But the highlight of the evening was a glorious scat-singing rendition of Jerome Kern's "Pick Yourself Up." It showcased the breathless virtuosity of all four musicians.

As an encore, Nicolas King told a moving story about Carol Burnett that's too good to give away before launching into her signature song "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together." He artfully combined this with Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's "My Shining Hour." It was like topping off a delicious meal with a fine cognac. Nicolas King is a consummate nightclub performer. He is classy, elegant, joyful, and insanely talented. After being trapped in our homes for over a year, he was exactly the right night out.

Nicolas King: HINDSIGHT IS 2020 is at The Green Room 42 again Saturday, June 5th at 7 PM and is also on the schedule in July and August. For more information on this show and all things Nicolas King, visit nicolasking.com or find him @nicolasking on Twitter. To find more wonderful shows at The Green Room 42, go to greenfignyc.com.


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