Archikulture Digest

I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett

I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett

Created by David Grapes and Todd Olson

Musical Direction by Chris Leavy

With Bert Rodriguez, Victor Souffrant and Deejay Young

Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL</strong>

Here’s a quick Pro Tip: If it’s a “salute,” you’re alive. If it’s a “tribute,” you’re dead. I thought you might need to know this. Tony Bennet is still alive as I write this (he’s 89) and he’s had a pretty amazing career. His music offers a wide appeal based on his clear vocals and midcentury jazz footing. He avoided the potential torture of covering Janis Joplin’s material at a career nadir; I like Joplin as well, but you wouldn’t put chocolate sauce on your sushi, would you? Sorry I asked. There’ no story line here, just three really great singers , three dozen really great songs and the occasional anecdotes like the time Bob Hope gave the young Anthony Dominick “Tony” Benedetto his stage name.

With Bennet’s extensive song book (70 albums, 18 Grammies) this show only has to sort thought a pile of gold to assemble an evening’s program. Favorites here include Berlin’s “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” and “Let’s Face The Music And Dance;” Leigh and Coleman’s “The Best Is Yet To Come;” Bill Evans’ “A Child Is Born” and of course, the signature closer “ I Left My Heart in San Francisco” by Cross and Cory. Songs flow effortlessly between the trio; it’s sometimes hard to identify when one track slides into another, but I did note Mr. Rodriguez hitting high notes on “I Got Rhythm” while Mr. Souffrant snapped his fingers for “That Old Black Magic” while Mr. Young crooned though “Night and Day.” The house band is front and center in this show; the normally reticent Sam Forrest is completely visible and not eager to make eye contact with the crowd, yet he provided a rhythmic authority to the show. Meanwhile multi-instrumentalist Ned Wilkinson played trumpet and keys simultaneously and very discretely. If I hadn’t been prepped to look for this by house manager and chief patron-hugger Heather Alexander I might have missed this stunt. It’s all elegant and tres Winter Park, but they’ll let most anyone in for the party, and its well worth an evening of your life.

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org


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