25/2/2017 by Will Friedwald for thecitiview.com
John Lloyd Young may not be the only artist who won a Tony award for singing rock and roll on Broadway (in the original cast of “Jersey Boys”) but he continues to combine the two idioms with a gracefulness and ingenuity that is rare. With his high, powerful voice, he extends the legacy of such iconic lead singers as Frankie Lyman, “Little Anthony” Gourdine and yes, Frankie Valli, with a show that focuses on rock and soul classics of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Along the way as well as the occasional new, original song written in that tradition (like his own “Slow Dawn Coming”), and inspired arrangements, such as a doo-wop-style treatment of “Star Dust” replete with 16th note triplets.
For his fifth run at the Carlyle, he shows how to stick to the spirit of all these without songs merely “covering” them, like a wedding band, but injecting his own spirit and personality, even without departing dramatically from the original recordings. Mr. Young inhabits these songs with considerable energy and passion, and so much feeling that he built up to an emotional meltdown during the last number, a mash-up of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “My Shot” (from “Hamilton”), that was so convincing we were all left wondering whether it was real or not.