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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at Feinstein's at Loew's Regency

By Robert L. Daniels

  Tony Martin

Some things never change! Alvin Morris was born on Christmas day in 1912.

A mere ninety-five years later and with a name change, Tony Martin returned to Gotham for a two-night turn at Feinstein's at Loew's Regency. Living legends are few and far in-between these days and Martin clearly qualifies. Still looking like a glossy eight-by-ten photograph, poised and polished with a ruddy tinsel town Technicolor sheen, Martin offered an hour of song standards, singing with the kind of phrasing and intonation that younger vocalists would envy.

Boasting a dapper charm, the singer reminisced about legends Russ Columbo, Nat Cole and a young CBS page who later replaced him on radio, Gordon MacRae. When Bing Crosby was about to embark on a South American vacation, he recommended to record producers to let the kid record the new Cole Porter song. It was Begin the Beguine and Martin beautifully recreated Porter's passion and exotic rhythms.

Martin's notable legacy of hit parade songs included I Get Ideas, There's No Tomorrow( O Sole Mio), To Each His Own, and a serenade he sang to parading MGM beauties, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Judy Garland in Ziegfeld Girl - You Stepped Out of a Dream.

While his program was lovingly dotted with nostalgia, from I'll See You in My Dreams and I Surrender Dear to The Very Thought of You, I missed the inclusion of the Harold Arlen songs he introduced in Casbah when he appeared as the romantic jewel thief, Pepe Le Moko.

The singer recalled a friendship with Fred Astaire with whom he appeared as a sailor boy in Follow the Fleet. Martin sang Irving Berlin's exotic command Let's Face the Music and Dance and recalled what a fine gentleman Astaire was, making note of the dancer's later appearance with a particularly lovely lady in The Bandwagon. She is of course, one of Hollywood's great dancing ladies, Cyd Charisse, who has been married to Martin for fifty-seven years. Acknowledging her presence, Martin mused She waltzes with me once in a while.

Host Michael Feinstein welcomed Martin to the stage, noting that the real thing is often not appreciated. Standing ovations appear to be in the norm of late, but this particular capacity audience rewarded the singer with cheers deserving of royalty. Could it be the end of an era?


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