BWW Review: Tom Wopat is Hip at the Beach Cafe
A musical coincidence occurred in Manhattan last night. Marilyn Maye was swinging on the West Side at Feinstein's/54 Below and Tom Wopat was doing the same on the East Side at the Beach Cafe. They are a bit similar in Night Club performance. I'm purposely using the word Night Club as opposed to Cabaret because both singers just sing their well chosen song list while exciting you musically with their great voices, jazz infused phrasing, and the secret sauce of being able to Swing. No theme or "theatrical" show here, it's just the extraordinary ability to interpret a song that keeps your eyes and ears focused on the performer from the opening to the closing notes.
Tom Wopat TV("Luke" Dukes of Hazzard) and Broadway star ( City of Angels, Guys & Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, A Catered Affair, Catch Me If You Can) is a special type of performer. A mixture of Sinatra's cocky and pleasant side, with a dash or Kurt Elling's jazz feel and Marilyn Maye's magic. He parts company with all of the above as his song list last night starts you swinging with the standards (But Not For Me,Let's Fall in Love) but then takes an eclectic turn. Tom took out his guitar and showed his other side with Jimmy Webb, James Taylor, George Michael, Country and then some original tunes. He sent us all out onto 2nd Ave with "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "For All We Know". Tom Wopat is Hip and it's not only because he did a hip rendition of Dave Frisberg's' "I'm Hip".
Wopat had a great Trio in the intimate room. His longtime music director/arranger/pianist Tedd Firth helped so creatively to make this evening a special musical event aided by Ed Howard on bass and Peter Grant, drums.
As Tom said during his act..."so here's the deal...I'm at the Beach Cafe for the next Five Weeks, every Wednesday with a different bunch of songs". Catch Him If You Can...it's the best swinging deal in town.
Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff