BWW Review: Man! Can Chris Mann Sing at Feinstein's!!!
A NIGHT WITH THE PHANTOM: Chris Mann SINGS BROADWAY/Feinstein's at Vitello's/reviewed August 9, 2019
Chris Mann took the Feinstein's at Vitello's stage last Friday night and OWNED it!
For those unfamiliar with the singing sensation that is Chris Mann - Chris gained national prominence dueting with Christina Aguilera on The Voice, played THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA's titular role in over 700 performances, and topped the Billboard charts with his various recordings. And, let's not forget, Chris was a Dalton Academy Warbler on Glee.
Within minutes of hitting the Feinstein's at Vitello's stage, Chris dropped the 'f-bomb' with a mischievous twinkle in his eye - and the audience knew we were in for a fun and raucous night! Chris' easy stage demeanor peppered with clever asides, created a relaxed, back-and-forth dialogue with the appreciative audience. No canned patter here! Chris' few scripted intros revolved around his real-life experiences. Like his very touching, heartfelt nod to his grandfather's unfulfilled music talents, leading into "When I Fall In Love."
With the opener, "Home" (from THE WIZ), we all knew we, the audience, were 'home' to Chris' handsome vocals. Chris' engaging set of fifteen songs (classic, Broadway and pop) showed off his range and command of his sturdy, classically trained pipes.
Throughout the evening, Chris generously shared his spotlight with his amazing band (Willy Beaman on piano, Jordan Childs on drums and Chris Thigpen on bass), allowing their individual moments to shine with their respective solos. Their exhilarating street-style version of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" brought a brand new interpretation of this beloved classic song.
In LES MIZ's "Bring Him Home," Chris' beautiful high, high notes, simply backed by Willy Beaman's delicate tickling of the ivories, got my eyes teary (similar to each time I've heard Colm Wilkinson sing it).
And this guy can rap, as Chris playfully and deftly showed us in his medley of HAMILTON, performing songs of both characters Alexander Hamilton and King George III at rap speed. Amidst the thunderous applause, Jordan Childs yelled out, "You're a black Mann now!"
Chris prefaced his latest single "If You Ever Leave" as the song he wrote about his newborn son Hugo. Listening to his lyrics, you could easily visualize his baby lying on Chris' chest.
Chris launched into a rousing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (from JERSEY BOYS) before introducing his special guest John Lloyd Young from the audience to join him. The two good-humoredly traded verses and made some beautiful harmonies together.
Chris' finale choice of "The Music Of The Night" (from PHANTOM) perfectly capped off the applause-filled evening. Chris' mastery of the lyrics and gorgeous notes of the Phantom brought me chills (just like Michael Crawford did when I saw him at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles years ago.)
For those in the entertainment biz, we can totally appreciate all the hard work behind-the-scenes it takes to put on, and pull off, a show so seamlessly effortless. Others might say, "That's so easy, I can do it." Hmmm? No, you can't! But man, Chris Mann sure can!
Go to Chris' website chrismannmusic.com for his future dates in your cities.
For coming artists and their schedules at Feinstein's at Vitello's, log onto www.feinsteinsatvitellos.com