Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: Enjoyable Revue at the Metropolitan Room Showcases the Prodigious Songbook of Composer NICHOLAS LEVIN

Composer-based revues have become something of a staple in the cabaret arena for the past couple of decades. Off-Broadway productions such as Side by Side By Sondheim and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris indeed set the tone for others in cabaret that followed, with varying degrees of success. Within the New York City sphere, a most memorable example was the award-winning Monday in the Dark With George, which premiered at Eighty Eights in 1992 with a cast that not only featured the songwriter himself, George Winters, but also such powerhouses as Jay Rogers and Helen Baldassare. Many others have followed, some emerging as hits while others were quite forgettable. To the hits category can now be added Somewhere In This Song: The Music and Lyrics of Nicholas Levin, which premiered this past Saturday afternoon at Metropolitan Room and will undoubtedly find its legs for a much-deserved extended run there, or possibly Off-Broadway.

Levin (photo below), a prodigious songwriter, has never achieved the recognition he deserves, in spite of getting a handful of award nominations, his stellar contributions to the 2006 hit Off-Broadway musical That Time of the Year at the York Theatre, and his long participation in the acclaimed ASCAP/MAC Songwriters Showcases. But with this latest revue featuring his songbook, Levin--and his work--may finally get his chance to shine.

Delivering Levin's songs were four of New York cabaret's young vocal powerhouses, Mick Bleyer, Marissa Mulder, Adam B. Shapiro, and Kristin Maloney. Having never heard Maloney before, for this reviewer she was the show's true revelation, displaying a voice that soared to the heavens on songs such as "I Deserve Better (Than Me)," "The Olives of Regret," and "Strong," in which she appears no less capable of bringing down the house than such Broadway divas as Alison Fraser. Bleyer, who is best known primarily as a member of the award-winning vocal quintette Marquee Five, displayed his impressive baritone-to-tenor range on "Cat on a Leash" and the title song. Mulder, who over the past couple of years has been collecting awards by the boat load, simply mesmerized the audience with her renditions of "Synesthesia" and "The Night They Bathed in Paree." And Shapiro is nothing less than riveting on such tunes as "Director's Cut" and "I Used to Be From New York." When the four gathered as an ensemble, as when they opened the show with "You've Come To The Right Place," they provided lovely backing vocals for one another. The combination of Nicholas Levin's words to those four voices made for a magical musical matrimony.

Director Peter Napolitano did a bang-up job getting this revue into blissful shape. Matthew Martin Ward did his usual fine work as musical director at the piano, and Boots Maleson's performance on bass was soaring as always. And, of course, it's all woven together perfectly with Jean-Pierre Perreaux overseeing the technical direction on lights and sound. Somewhere In This Song: The Music and Lyrics of Nicholas Levin deserves as long an onstage life as possible somewhere in this city.

Related Articles View More Cabaret Stories   Shows

From This Author Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin has spent nearly a quarter-of-a-century as a cabaret journalist and entertainment features contributor for such publications as Back Stage, New England Entertainment Digest, (read more...)