BWW Review: Renee Marino At The Green Room 42
To fans of Renée Marino, it must come as no surprise that this Jersey, Italian girl would perform a fantastic set while filling the room with her out-sized personality. How her story to film and stage actress materialized became the thrilling subject of yet another spectacular performance brought to an appreciative audience at The Green Room 42. Combining the impact of her life's three greatest influences (her key family members), she crafted the story of her life into a high energy cabaret that left the audience smiling. It helped that Marino's impassioned dance moves and impressive vocals also created dynamic stage presence that accented her story.
Through a well-crafted series of songs, Marino told stories of how her father, mother, and grandma impacted her and her career. Each provided a saying in a pivotal moment that helped Marino maintain the resilience required to dedicate years to acting. Through "staying true to herself," "never settling" and "finding the joy in every situation," Marino followed her family's guidance to becoming the lead in Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of Jersey Boys, paying off on decades of intense effort and ever-increasing roles.
In the same way that Marino's career has continued to grow, so too did her show as each song brought out another aspect of her talent and range. While the first moments of her career may have been as a 12 year old singing the Kiss classic, "Good Girl Gone Bad," it only went up from there. Shortly after, she regaled us with tales of her Broadway debut in West Side Story after only 3 days of rehearsal, and she was singing my favorite two numbers of the night "Walkin' on Sunshine" (Kimberly Rew) followed by a mash up of "This Girl is On Fire" (Alicia Keys et al) and "Sunnyside of the Street" (Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh).
However, Marino continued to impress throughout her show, even while taking a break mid-medley about past relationships to order some French Fries. She had a way of making everything entertaining and even the smallest movement exciting as the show neared its ultimate finale and crescendo. In an exciting final trio of three songs, she brought the best of her show's styles together, crooning the ballad, "The Man I Love" (George and Ira Gerswhin) before launching into a raucous "Get On Your Feet" (made famous by Gloria Estefan, written by Jorge Cases, Jon De Faria, and Clay Ostwald). While despite her pleas it took until after the song for an emphatic ovation to get the crowd to stand, the crescendo had created a powerfully positive effect on the audience. And ultimately as she added the Disney classic, "When You Wish Upon a Star" (Leigh Harline, Ned Washington) she had successfully captured the hearts and imaginations of everyone in the audience.
Marino was aided in her exuberant display of a stalwart example of a cabaret by musical director and pianist, Logan Medland, along with drummer, Mark Papzian; bassist, Brian Holtz; guitarist, Nate Brown; and backup singer, Courtney Allen. As this show had been performed twice before in LA, expect it to be back again in NYC soon.
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN