BWW Award Winner and Tony Winning Jersey Boys Star JOHN LLOYD YOUNG Continues to Rock Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
28/18/2016 by Don Grigware for broadwayworld.com
Actor/singer John Lloyd Young, best known for his Tony-winning portrayal of Frankie Valli in the original Broadway musical Jersey Boys and for his performance in the 2014 film, performs monthly at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. Like all the other shows, his December 27th performance was sold out, with fans from around the globe coming out to hear his incredible voice and to purchase his solo CD My Turn.
It is absolutely amazing to see how enthusiastically the fans respond to his first entrance onstage, and how they scream and stand up after many of the show’s songs. He is revered and idolized almost as much as yesteryear’s Elvis or Michael Jackson. And the ladies present…I am happy to say, are not that young. They are middle age and up, some in their 60s and 70s. These ladies whoop it up and jump to their feet and feel the music. Yeah!
When I first reviewed Young in October 2014, I had the following to say, “…if you have never heard his angelic tenor voice that glides smoothly and effortlessly into high-octave falsetto, you are missing a rare treat. He has a one.of.a.kind style that sets him apart from every male singer on the music scene today with a quiet, personable charisma and stellar stage presence that keep you hanging on to every note, every phrase.”
With a four-piece band and fine musical direction from Tommy Faragher at the piano, who also supervised Young’s CD My Turn, the December 27th set featured selections from the CD, like “Show and Tell”. Of course, there’s always a place on the program for “Sherry”, Young’s staple song from Jersey Boys. Along with the expected, a few original compositions were included. Young and Faragher write together, and these contemporary songs have a similar sound and texture to the 60s hits that have made him famous, The originals he performed are titled “Almost There”, “Slow Dawn Calling” and “Life Changes”. Other highlights of the 60-minute evening included: “Say No More”, “Hurt”, “Ooh Baby Baby”, Randy Newman’s first hit “Just One Smile” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Vocally, Young sounded better than ever on every single tune.
Once more he included the Mandarin hit “Ming Ri Tian Ya” (If Tomorrow Comes), a sad tune about a dying man who bemoans his fate. This tune is a haunting one and more contemp sounding than the 60s hits, but like other tunes written by he and Faragher, the feeling of loss and desperation is still present. You feel it with every note, every lyric. Young’s encore was “To Make You Feel My Love”. Throughout the hour he offered an outpouring of love and passion for his fans, strolling through the audience at one point and shaking hands and hugging many of the ladies. He had little to say this time around, but he did take the time to stress the value of sticking together during the tough times that we face in 2017.
John Lloyd Young is an undeniable super-talent with a one.of.a.kind vocal instrument and personable, friendly style that will keep you listening. Don’t miss him if you get the chance to see him perform live; if not, buy the CD, put it on the stereo, put your feet up, close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported to 60s neverland.