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BWW Review: Powerhouse Broadway Star Adam Jacobs Takes Us BEHIND THE CURTAIN of His Life at Feinstein's, Studio City

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BWW Review: Powerhouse Broadway Star Adam Jacobs Takes Us BEHIND THE CURTAIN of His Life at Feinstein's, Studio City

When I heard that actor/singer Adam Jacobs, who originated the role of Aladdin on Broadway, would be doing a cabaret on Friday November 22 at Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's, I changed other plans and quickly made press reservations. I saw the affable performer when he opened Aladdin at the Hollywood Pantages in January 2018. I wrote the following in my review of the evening:

LA audiences are exceedingly lucky to have the original Aladdin Adam Jacobs playing the role for a couple of weeks. Handsome with a sensational vocal instrument, this young lad is top notch. There is a sincerity within that makes Aladdin a winning personality. Not only can he fly the magic carpet, but in Jacobs' hands, he finds his truth and lives it.

Entitled Behind the Curtain, his 90 minute cabaret, that was filmed for possible future screening as a documentary on his career rise to fame, was electric from start to finish due to the engaging presence of Jacobs who begins a song and runs with it. It's one thing to say he has a powerful voice, as do many Broadway singers, but Jacobs rises above that. He sings "Why, God Why?" from Miss Saigon and gets so totally wrapped up in it that you instantly feel the suffering and cry the rest of the way along with him.

The first half of the show was career, the second, his personal life. Backed by a wonderful 6-piece orchestra, Jacobs entered through the audience to greet his cheering fans with "On Broadway" and proceeded to tell his story with a bevy of songs like "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, "She Loves Me", "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls, "Joey, Joey, Joey" from The Most Happy Fella and the magnificent opening for the Phantom in the sequel Love Never Dies, "Til I Hear You Sing". Each song followed an anecdote about stages of his long struggle to get cast as Marius in Les Mis...the frustrations that many actors/singers will appreciate, who either do not look Asian enough or Latino enough, so lose the role despite a great voice and solid audition. Opening night jitters, for example, segued into "Luck Be a Lady" where he advised to take a deep breath and go on, as his Filipino grandpa Julio did. This man who came to the US from Manila never gave up hope and is currently still happy at 94. Grandpa Julio obviously had much impact on Jacobs' stamina and spirit to overcome obstacles ... and win.

Now a word or two about that dynamite orchestra. The wonderful Adam Bravo at the piano; on guitar, we were treated to the rhythms of Mike Abraham; on bass, Ross Schodek; on drums, Jose Perez, who also served as musical director; on sax, clarinet and flute, Kyle O'Donnell and on violin, Amanda Lo, both of whom had some fabulous solo spots. Exquisite musicians, all!

During the Broadway half of the concert, Jacobs essayed many songs from his CD, a tribute to Alan Menken, entitled Right Where I Belong. My favorite is "Go the Distance" from Hercules, and then he performed a terrific Disney medley that included "Out There" from Hunchback of Notre Dame, "Santa Fe" from Newsies and "Proud of Your Boy" from Aladdin. Jacobs has spent 7 productive years with this show on Broadway and on the road in various tours.

The second half of the show was devoted to showmances told through singing a selection of pop, rock songs. Jacobs stripped away his long sleeve shirt and vest to reveal a Fender t-shirt beneath. He told fun anecdotes about meeting his wife Kelly in Hershey, Pennsylvania, falling in love and then missing her as she went on a nine month tour to Tokyo Disney. A long distance relationship he did not recommend, but he did marry her when she returned and they are still going strong with twin boys. Songs from this segment of the show included well known standards like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You", "Get Here" and the delightful "Me and Mrs. Jones" that he dedicated to the lustful ladies waiting for him at the stage door of Aladdin every night.

One sided relationships were also explored with "Bad Habits" and with Jacobs' encore "He Ain't Heavy" proclaiming the message of love, every type of love. Everyone has the right to be who they are.

This was a thoroughly winning theatrical evening. Jacobs is one of the finest actors/ singers on the planet. Hopefully he will soon be back onstage to delight us all. In the meantime, go to amazon or itunes, purchase his CD Right Where I Belong and experience the powerhouse and passionate performer who is ... Adam Jacobs.


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