“Come Fly with Me Tour, Boston Globe South
South Shore native pays tribute to Frank Sinatra with singing tour
By Paul E. Kandarian Globe Correspondent
December 3, 2015
Brian De Lorenzo’s voice may take him all over, but his roots are firmly in Weymouth. The cabaret singer and musical theater actor, now living in Dorchester, grew up in a musical family, with his first “semiprofessional gig,” he said, coming at 9, performing with the Fine Arts Chorale in Weymouth.
“There was always music in the house -- my father was an amateur singer,” said De Lorenzo, one of five children. “We were friends with another large family, and we’d get together and sing concerts.”
De Lorenzo, whose day job is with the nonprofit Boston Senior Home Care, recently kicked off his latest original venture, “Come Fly With Me,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra, whose 100th birthday is Dec. 12. The tour started in Boston and continues in Puerto Vallarta in December, after a stint in New York City in November.
As a child, De Lorenzo went to choir school and performed at churches in Weymouth. As an older actor, he performed at the Company Theatre in Norwell. He enjoys the demands of both.
“In singing, I can choose any kind of material, where theater is a collaborative art,” he said. “They’re very different, bringing different kinds of satisfaction.”
He also performs for the Boston-based nonprofit Upstage Lung Cancer, which uses the performing arts to raise awareness and funding for research, he said.
De Lorenzo sings regularly in Boston, including at Scullers Jazz Club and Club Café, and also in New York, Provincetown, Chicago, and San Francisco. He has performed on cruise ships in Alaska and the Mediterranean, and has been thrice nominated for the Best Cabaret Show by the Independent Reviewers of New England. In 2001 he was named “Performer of the Year” by Talent America. His work can be seen at www.briandelorenzo.com.
He’s enjoying his current Sinatra tribute, he said, hoping to continue it in other venues next year.
Given his love of Sinatra, his family background might seem at odds with it.
“My parents weren’t big fans of Sinatra,” De Lorenzo said, with a laugh, about his mother and father, now living in Middleborough. “They didn’t have any of his albums in our house.”
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at email@example.com.”
- Paul E. Kandarian
“Presenting Brian De Lorenzo
By Marcia Blondin, Vallarta Tribune
Back for his third time in Vallarta to entertain, Brian DeLorenzo will have three shows at Vallarta's newest cabaret, Incanto, and will be joined onstage by his longtime collaborator/accompanist, Tim Evans on piano. Brian's show – Around the world in 80 Minutes – opens 8 PM, Wednesday, April 5th in the cozy intimacy of Incanto's theater. Second and third shows are Thursday and Saturday, April 6th and April 8th. All performances begin at 8 PM sharp.
Brian and his husband, John, love to travel. They are in Europe often and will be spending this coming summer touring South Africa and Botswana. A couple of photo safaris await to unfold and a trip to fabled Victoria Falls, discovered by Stanley Livingston in 1855.
If you love singers like Frank Sinatra and songs from the American songbook, you'll fall in love with Brian De Lorenzo's sensitive, strong delivery… straight from his heart.
He chooses songs that have touched his life and that's exactly how Brian will touch you. He has promised boat songs and train songs; songs from Paris and Rome and the Eastern Seaboard where he was born in raised. He and John live in a 19th century home in Boston, Massachusetts. He has also included some humorous songs – all pertaining to travel, some comedy and one song that merely mentioning the title filled his eyes with tears of remembrance.
He clearly thrives being on stage delivering song is loved by millions around the world – songs that have endured for decades and when Brian sings them you will know only joy; that will stay in your heart long after the notes have faded.
See you at Incanto touching down in cities around the world with the incomparable Brian De Lorenzo.”
- Marcia Blondin
“Comings & Goings
by Marcia Blondin, Vallarta Tribune
Brian De Lorenzo continues in great voice in the lovely theatre at Incanto with two more shows Thursday, April 6th and Saturday the 8th. Join this engaging cabaret star from Boston on a round-the-world tour in song and make sure to read “Presenting Brian De Lorenzo” in this issue.
The heart-warming play “Over the River and Through the Woods” has three more performances only at the Boutique Theatre: this Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 pm. See more about this production in “From Here”.
Chris Kenny can be found at the Piano Bar at Incanto every Saturday night, starting at 8 pm with a second show at 10. A great way to end your evening at Incanto – with a nightcap upstairs listening to Chris’s sultry, bluesy voice.
Latcho and Andrea are back at Incanto Tuesday night, April 11 at 8. Their new, sophisticated show is amazing….
Coming up Thursday, April 20, the sensational singer from New Zealand – Jackie Bristow – arrives for three shows only – at Incanto. This lovely young woman has opened for some of the biggest names in show business all over the planet. She is currently in Auckland with Bonnie Raitt, flies here for a week, then goes to share the stage with Olivia Newton John. Stay tuned for more!”
- Marcia Blondin
“Comings & Goings
by Marcia Blondin, Vallarta Tribune
Big party/picnic/live musical extravaganza/wine-sipping, 4th annual Fundraiser at Casa Karma for Corazon de Nina takes place Friday, March 31st at 7 pm. As this goes to print before all the details are in…check my column “From Here” for some juicy bites on who will be there…besides me, of course.
Saturday, April 1st has El Rio BBQ-Bar hosting the “Garth Guy”, the last Tribute show of the season with Dean Simmons performing Garth Brooks’ greatest hits. I am sure there will be a huge crowd; a good idea to arrive right when the gates open at 6:30, enjoy a fabulous dinner under the stars at this truly idyllic spot; the show starts at 8 pm.
Latcho and Andrea, the Blonde Gypsies are back playing flamenco guitars at Incanto for three shows in April: on Tuesday, the 4th, 11th and the 25th. If there was a History of Live Music in Vallarta, Latcho and Andreawould have had a hand in writing the first chapter. They are as exciting now as they were 20 years ago, with a perfection in their playing that is extraordinary.
My friend, the uber-charming Brian De Lorenzo returns to Vallarta with three shows at Incanto, opening Wednesday, Aril 5th at 8 pm. Brian’s new show is called “Around the World in 80 Minutes”; he and I will be sitting down this week and catching up on all the news. Read all about it next issue but join me for Brian’s debut at Incanto and hear one of the finest voices ever to hit a cabaret stage.”
- Marcia Blondin
“BRIAN DE LORENZO
By Marcia Blondin
I first heard Brian De Lorenzo sing almost exactly a year ago at the Palm Cabaret on Olas Altas here in Puerto Vallarta. It happened during a packed house for Paco Ojeda’s sensational Birthday Tribute to Bette Midler. On my way out of the theatre, Brian and I exchanged business cards and a quick chat then I headed straight to Tracy Parks, the Entertainment Director of The Palm and mentioned how great it would be to sit through an entire show listening only to Brian De Lorenzo’s exquisite tenor. Guess what, Vallarta? Another wish is coming true: Brian’s show opens at The Palm December 4th at 7 pm.
I had the opportunity to sit quietly with Brian this past weekend in the comfort of his and husband John’s rental just off Los Muertos Beach. He is as easy to talk to as he appears at ease on stage; completely without artifice and/or pretension. Our conversation began with and revolved around love; he spoke warmly of his family and especially John with whom he has shared close to half his life. And has married twice! The first time outside of Boston, Massachusetts, without legal sanction but Brian did sing at that Unitarian service. The second time, same place, no singing but legally and happily bound together.
During a visit to Vallarta a few years back, Brian and John saw the name “Paco Ojeda” mentioned somewhere, pursued the unlikelihood of it being the very same friend from Boston with whom they had lost touch and, guess what again, Vallarta? Their lost friendship was rekindled and remains today.
I was curious as to why – given the amazing popular music of his youth – has he been so attracted to singers, make that crooners, like Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra. Brian says there was no family influence, no stacks of Sinatra 78’s, 45’s or LP’s in the house growing up.
And, Brian favored Barbra Streisand’s earliest works – before she was incredibly famous. He loved listening to her soul singing as opposed to her powerful voice. In the videos I have watched on Brian’s website, I do truly believe his is an “Old Soul” and manages with his face, body language and crystal clear tenor to not just sing words that hold great yet simple messages, but to believe. His respect for the lyrics is profoundly moving.
His two shows this week at the Palm celebrate the Italian American – as is Brian – known as Frank Sinatra who was born 100 years ago on December 12. And, I know for a fact he has some surprises in store for his audience that don’t include Mr Sinatra or Cole Porter. I am daring to hope for at least one surprise song titled “Flight” – so beautifully done on video; I cannot imagine a dry eye in the house if he does, indeed, sing it. That may very well put Mr De Lorenzo on the spot but not nearly pushing the envelope as hard as my describing a dream of him singing Freddie Mercury…
I will have a review of Brian’s opening night in this space next week but please don’t wait! Brian has only two shows: December 4th, Friday and Sunday the 6th, both at 7 pm, at the fabulously intimate Palm Cabaret on Olas Altas. In the meantime, check Brian De Lorenzo’s website and do listen to some brilliant recordings including the very first Sinatra song Brian sang in public “In the Still of the Night”. See you at The Palm Cabaret this Friday.www.briandelorenzo.com”
- Marcia Blondin
“GYPSY RUMBA & FLAMENCO, ‘ONE, TWO, CHA-CHA-CHA’, AND ’SINATRA AT 100’ TAKE THE STAGE AT THE PALM
Latcho & Andrea, The Blond Gypsies return to The Palm for the season with their earthy Gypsy Rumba and Flamenco guitars. Paco Ojeda’s Musical Tribute Series begins with a look back at the influence of 1950’s movie music in ‘One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA, and cabaret singer and entertainer Brian De Lorenzo celebrates the music of Frank Sinatra, commemorating his birthday in ‘Come Fly With Me – Sinatra at 100’.
Latcho & Andrea: The Blond GypsiesEarthy Latin and Gypsy Flamenco rhythms and sultry harmonies capture the hearts of Latcho & Andrea’s audiences at every show. The Blond Gypsies are back at The Palm with their high-spirited, real inspired gypsy music, that includes original songs and stories from their past, when they met traveling with Wild West shows and the circuses of Europe, and playing music with the likes of The Gypsy Kings. Now in their second season at The Palm, Latcho & Andrea’s popularity in the Banderas Bay area continues to soar. Watching and hearing them is part spiritual, part musical, and audiences often end up dancing in the aisles, which the artists enthusiastically encourage. Their traditional heart-pounding tempo and beautiful melodies make them one of the most popular and sought after musical duos in Vallarta. Enjoy the untamed power of real inspired Gypsy Flamenco Music. Fast-paced or romantic, a rough authentic sound. Latcho & Andrea will play throughout the season (Nov.- April), with a recently added show on November 30, at 7:00 pm.
Paco Ojeda’s Musical Tribute Series: One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA!Vallarta Lifestyles’ managing editor Paco Ojeda returns to the stage for another series of musical showcases, the first one to take place at The Palm on Saturday, November 28, at 4:00 pm. “One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA!” will be an exploration of the fiery rhythm that first took America by storm during the 1950’s, through film clips and live song and dance performances.
In One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA you will enjoy carefully-chosen moments in movie history that brought cha-cha-cha to mainstream audiences. Local Latin trio ‘Piel Canela’ will provide the musical foundation for vocalists Kim Kuzma and Juan Pablo Hernández to truly shine through a few Latin rhythm favorites made popular by Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole and others, along with Piel Canela frontman, Fernando Huerta.
To keep things lively, Ojeda has also invited an award-winning ballroom dancing couple to demonstrate competition-level cha-cha-cha dancing. “Who knows, by the end of the event, we may all end up learning a basic step or two,” he chuckles. Paco will present other musical salutes throughout the season. Watch for announcements on The Palm’s website and Facebook page.
Brian De Lorenzo – ‘Come Fly With Me: Sinatra at 100’As a seasoned cabaret entertainer, with a rich voice and a strong connection to his audiences, Brian De Lorenzo takes you back in time to commemorate the 100th Birthday of Frank Sinatra and his music. A nostalgic musical journey down memory lane, with personal stories and anecdotes added along the way, De Lorenzo is in true cabaret form as he belts out some of Sinatra’s most famous tunes from his extensive songbook, including favorites like “The Best Is Yet to Come”, “Come Fly with Me”, and ‘Luck Be A Lady’. These classics and well-known Sinatra ballads from stage and film make this an ‘Old Blue Eyes’ fan favorite. While Sinatra tribute shows are nothing new, De Lorezno brings something special to the stage, a real connection that leaves audiences clamoring for more!
Brian De Lorenzo is equally at home in theatres, concert halls, and cabaret rooms. He has performed in such places as Israel, Wales, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and England. He has sung at clubs such as The Metropolitan Room, Eighty-Eight’s, 54 Below, The Iridium, Birdland, Don’t Tell Mama in New York; and at The Palm Cabaret and Bar in Puerto Vallarta. ‘Come Fly With Me, Sinatra At 100’ will have two performances only, December 4 & 6 at 7:00 pm.”
- Cynthia Andrade
“Brian De Lorenzo Presents ‘Come Fly With Me: Sinatra at 100’
The Palm Cabaret and Bar features several shows that will be opening this coming week, of which Brian De Lorenzo’s tribute to Frank Sinatra on December 4 & 6 is a must. As a seasoned cabaret entertainer with a rich voice and a strong connection to his audiences, Brian De Lorenzo takes you back in time to commemorate the 100th Birthday of Frank Sinatra and his music. A nostalgic musical journey down memory lane, with personal stories and anecdotes added along the way, De Lorenzo is in true cabaret form as he belts out some of Sinatra’s most famous tunes from his extensive songbook, including favorites like “The Best Is Yet to Come,” “Come Fly with Me,” and “Luck Be a Lady”. These classics and well-known Sinatra ballads from stage and film make this an ‘Old Blue Eyes’ fan favorite. While Sinatra tribute shows are nothing new, De Lorenzo brings something extra special to the stage, a real connection that leaves audiences clamoring for more!
Brian De Lorenzo is equally at home in theaters, concert halls, and cabaret rooms. He has performed in such places as Israel, Wales, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and England. He has sung at clubs such as The Metropolitan Room, Eighty-Eight’s, 54 Below, The Iridium, Birdland, Don’t Tell Mama in New York; and at The Palm Cabaret and Bar in Puerto Vallarta. ‘Come Fly With Me, Sinatra At 100’ will have two performances only, December 4 & 6 at 7:00 pm.
Other Openings to Keep in Mind
Vallarta Lifestyles’ managing editor Paco Ojeda returns to the stage for another series of musical showcases, the first one to take place at The Palm on Saturday, November 28, at 4:00 pm. “One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA!” will be an exploration of the fiery rhythm that first took America by storm during the 1950’s, through film clips and live song and dance performances.
Also coming soon to The Palm, the second installment of the ‘Greater Tuna’ stage comedy series, ‘A Tuna Christmas’, starring Terry Dale Parks and Tracy Parks. This hilarious yuletide sequel to last year’s hit is the tale of simple Southern life in Tuna, TX, and has played worldwide for over 30 years, always leaving audiences in stitches. ‘A Tuna Christmas’ opens on Dec. 2.
The Palm is well-known for bringing top notch, cutting-edge entertainment to Vallarta. Inside you’ll find an intimate, completely refurbished 90-seat cabaret with outstanding sound and lighting, creating the ambiance of cabarets from days gone by. Shows are scheduled seven days per week with two different shows nightly through April, 2015. The Palm also offers matinees at 4:00 p.m. on selected shows.
The Palm is non-smoking (a patio is provided for smokers) and is located at Olas Altas 508, in Colonia Emiliano Zapata. Tickets may be purchased online 24 hours a day, and at The Palm’s box office, open at 10:00 am daily. A full calendar of performances, information and online tickets are available at www.ThePalmPV.com.”
“Entertainment » Music
'High Hopes' :: Cabaret Benefit Celebrates Sinatra @ 100
by John Amodeo, Contributor
Sunday Nov 8, 2015
Boston-area cabaret singer Hildy Grossman has created something of a cottage industry with her non-profit foundation Upstage Lung Cancer, where she combines two of her greatest passions, entertaining and public service, by "using performing arts to raise awareness and funding for Lung Cancer," according to her website. The foundation sponsors research for early detection and treatment, promoting awareness, and to remove the social stigma associated with lung cancer.Each year, for her annual cabaret fund raiser, Grossman gathers a core group of some of Boston's finest musical theater and cabaret performers who have been with her from the beginning: Leigh Barrett, Brian De Lorenzo, Paula Markowicz, and former WBZ newsman and Reagle Theatre regular Scott Wahle to pay tribute to the Great American Songbook, an evening that is packed with entertainment. It is also packed with a subtle but powerful message: the toll lung cancer has taken on the arts. Each of the Great American Songbook entertainers they have honored in the past, Frank Loesser, Leonard Bernstein, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, and Dean Martin, have all died of lung cancer. This year being the 7th Annual Benefit, Grossman adds local acting favorite, John F. King to that lineup, in a special tribute to the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. The evening is called, "High Hopes: Celebrating Sinatra's Centennial" honoring the 100th Anniversary of his birth, and will be presented on Tuesday, November 10, at the Lyric Stage. Longtime Boston-area musical director Catherine Stornetta music directs, Lisa Rafferty directs, and Michelle Hayes choreographs. Emmy Award-winning A & E Critic, 3-time cancer survivor and ever-delightful Joyce Kulhawik will emcee, as she has done each year from the beginning.
Now, some of you music historians out there might be saying, "Wait. Sinatra didn't die from lung cancer," and indeed you would be right. He died in 1998, at the age of 82 from a severe heart attack. The next night, the Empire State Building was lit blue in his honor, and the lights on the Vegas Strip were dimmed. Grossman felt that the centennial of his birth merited a similar acknowledgment from Upstage Lung Cancer, firstly because of his contribution to the Great American Songbook, and secondly, as Grossman puts it, "He was no stranger to lung cancer. He lost many people who were near and dear to him to lung cancer and thoracic cancer (cancer of the throat), including Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr." Grossman adds, "More to the point, whatever you say about Frank Sinatra, that man lived to the edges. Frank's life was a good example to all of us about living life to the fullest. He was a true bon vivant.
And one other thing: one of Sinatra's biggest hits provided a perfect theme for the evening, "High Hopes." Grossman feels the song "completely reflects what we want to say about lung cancer. This is what we want for early detection, new treatment that will keep people alive longer, and find ways to improve the quality of life for people who are diagnosed with lung cancer." The Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn song was first introduced by Sinatra in the 1959 film "A Hole in the Head," winning an Oscar for Best Original Song, and recorded on Sinatra's 1961 album "All the Way." It was recorded and performed by countless singers, including having been sung by Seth MacFarlane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Daniel Radcliffe during the 2013 85th Academy Awards ceremony, demonstrating the resilience and longevity of the music from the Great American Songbook.
A rich legacy
The performers are excited about this year's theme, not only because of the rich legacy Sinatra left behind ("he recorded over 1200 songs," notes Grossman), but also because the man and the music he championed still resonate with today's audiences. De Lorenzo, who is doing his own Sinatra centennial tribute, "Come Fly With Me: Brian De Lorenzo Celebrates Sinatra at 100," this month in New York, and next month in Puerto Vallarta, agrees. "I think Sinatra is almost synonymous with 'The Great American Songbook,'" asserts De Lorenzo. "He's probably the first person people think of when they think of traditional pop music of the 20th century. His choice of music, his persona, and his style of delivery have struck a chord with millions of people.
(Full disclosure: the author, John Amodeo, is the husband of performer Brian De Lorenzo.)Wahle places Sinatra in the Pantheon of great entertainers of the 20th century, right next to Elvis Presley and The Beatles. "He was the Justin Bieber of his day, when my mother was just a kid," remarks Wahle. "He had a way with a song that was unique. It's hard to define what that was. Aside from just the quality of his voice, he knew how to tell a story through song. That's what separated him from other artists of his early career and throughout his career. There were a lot of other singers with beautiful voices, but the key to singing a song is to tell a story through music and lyrics, and there was none better than Sinatra."Barrett brings up the "hip factor." She muses, "I think Sinatra made listening to these songs, or this type of music, whether it's a standard jazz or musical theatre type song, a popular and "cool" thing to listen to, no matter who you were."In thinking about Sinatra, De Lorenzo observes, "Audience members over, say, 40, will remember many of the songs because some of them may have come from a favorite musical ("Guys & Dolls"); or favorite songwriters (the Gershwins, Cole Porter); or they may remember their parents listening to Sinatra records when they were growing up." He continues, "I think most of what he sang were well-crafted songs with great lyrics that anyone can identify with.
Most famous singer in the world
Because there was so much to choose from, Grossman let her performers choose their own solos. De Lorenzo selected two favorites from his Sinatra tribute, "Day In, Day Out," which is a swinging uptempo to a Billy May arrangement (May was Sinatra's arranger in the late 1950s), and the other, "Fools Rush In," a beautiful ballad from Sinatra's early years with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Barrett chose "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," partly to play against type. "It's not big or brassy," she declares. "It is a sweet and simple song with a heartfelt melody." Sentimentality also plays a factor, as she recalls, "It's the song my husband used to sing to me when we first met.""I love singing 'Summer Wind,'" says Wahle. "It tells a story. It happens to be a sad story, but it is a beautiful song. That's the Sinatra I enjoy listening to, the songs from the Capital years in his early prime. He was the most famous singer in the world then." Grossman promises a real variety, including the Ring-A-Ding era: "New York, New York," "My Way," "Luck Be A Lady." She guarantees "a toe-tapping and heartwarming time. It will be an evening that creates an environment of joy."The subject of Ring-A-Ding era triggers a memory in Wahle. "My senior year at Notre Dame, we spent one night in Las Vegas on a road trip. We had the option of seeing one of two popular Vegas shows, Frank Sinatra, or Rich Little," says Wahle. "And I chose Rich Little because I thought Sinatra was mailing it in during the mid '70s, but I was wrong. He was still killing them, even then."Upstage Lung Cancer presents "High Hopes: Celebrating Sinatra's Centennial" on Tuesday, November 10, 2015; 7:30 P.M. at the Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA. General Admission Tickets $40. VIP Tickets: $100-$500. To purchase tickets, visit: http://www.upstagelungcancer.org/events.php.
- John Amodeo
“Hear Brian De Lorenzo sing Sinatra's classics in "Come Fly With Me
From acting in classic films such as From Here to Eternity and Guys and Dolls to performing the most acclaimed songs of our time, Frank Sinatra’s career lasted over 50 years till his untimely death in 1998. Actor and singer Brian De Lorenzo pays tribute to Sinatra with Come Fly With Me: Brian De Lorenzo Celebrates Sinatra at 100, offering insight into Sinatra’s life and performing his most popular American Standards. Click here for more information!
Brian De Lorenzo discusses his love for music, his acting background, and what most people might not know about Sinatra.
Examiner: I understand you were Talent America’s Performer of the Year in 2001. How did you get your start before that? What sparked your interest in music?
Brian De Lorenzo: We always had music in the house when I was growing up. My father was a semi-professional singer and the whole family loved to sing. I think when I was about 9 years old, my parents bought an old, upright piano and asked me if I wanted to take piano lessons and I said “yes.” They must have noticed that I loved music and singing.
Soon after that, a community chorus specializing in classical choral music called The Fine Arts Chorale, which is based in my hometown of Weymouth, MA, was looking for boy sopranos to sing the parts of the "Pickled Boys" in Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas Cantata.' Although I was not paid for that concert, I consider that to be my professional debut as a performer. Later in high school, I sang with the Chorale as a regular chorus member performing the Verdi Requiem and other great choral works.
A nun, who was a teacher at my school, heard me at the St. Nicolas concert and suggested to my parents that I enroll in Christ Choir School, which later became New England Children’s Choir. I attended for four years on Saturdays during the regular school year.
Instead of staying home watching cartoons like other kids my age, I was learning music theory, how to play the recorder, and performing in musicals and operas such as Humperdinck’s 'Hansel & Gretel' in the role of Hansel. I also learned about composers and singing choral music that included religious works as well as selections from Oliver! and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Examiner: As an actor, you have performed all over New England in productions such as Forever Plaid, Assassins, Merrily We Roll Along, and A Christmas Carol. I understand though, you won an IRNE as a member of the cast for Best Ensemble in The Wild Party. Please tell me about that experience.
BD: It was quite exciting for us to win the award and we all had a great time working together on the show. It was a true collaboration by all the cast members with each other as well as with the creative team and the IRNE Committee recognized that collaboration. The show was a real workout for me because there was a lot of dance and movement and it had been quite a while since I had done a stage production that was that strenuous. I was pretty worn out by the end of the days we worked on choreography!
The Andrew Lippa score is very exciting, and I enjoy listening to the cast recording. Someday, I’d like to add some of the songs to my cabaret repertoire.
It was interesting to play the role of Phil D’Armano because it was the first time I portrayed a gay character. I had been “out” for many years before that, but this was an opportunity to explore that in a character on stage which was kind of intimidating and freeing at the same time.
Examiner: The Rat Pack music has stood the test of time and musicians often cover songs from the American Songbook. What is it about the Rat Pack and particularly Sinatra’s music that really draw your interest? Why do you think Sinatra’s songs and the songs of this era are still popular today?
BD: Songs from the Great American Songbook, which is primarily what Sinatra and the other Rat Pack members performed, consist of well crafted melodies, harmonies, and most importantly, lyrics that nearly everyone can identify with especially when you’ve gotten a few life experiences under your belt. Everyone over the age of 16, and sometimes younger, has experienced beauty, love, humor, and heartache. These songs validate our own feelings and experiences. We do five songs by lyricist Johnny Mercer who was a master craftsman when it came to putting love and heartache onto the page.
Examiner: What I love about your upcoming performance, "Come Fly With Me: Brian De Lorenzo Celebrates Sinatra at 100" is your performance at Club Café in Boston on Thursday, October 29 is just one stop on a tour celebrating Sinatra’s big year. You will also take the stage twice in New York City in November and then a couple of times in Puerto Vallarta in December. This is not just an exploration of his famous songs, but offers insight into Sinatra’s accomplished life. Please tell me how this idea came about and something that you know about Sinatra that others might not.
BD: About a year and a half ago, I was asked to come up with a list of songs for the Upstage Lung Cancer (USLC) tribute benefit to Dean Martin and the Rat Pack scheduled for last November. As I was perusing song titles, I remembered a couple of years prior, I had had the idea of doing a show saluting some of the best known Italian-American singers since I’m also Italian-American.
The research for the USLC benefit gave me that extra push I needed into performing a Tony Bennett and Sinatra salute called Sinatra, Tony, and Me at Scullers in Boston and the Metropolitan Room twice in New York last year. At the beginning of 2015, I was researching famous entertainers and songwriters who might be having important anniversaries this year. I saw that the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth would be on December 12 and thought, “I can take the show I did last year, replace the Tony Bennett songs with Sinatra songs and we’ll have a Sinatra tribute show.”
The song ‘Come Fly with Me’ would be in the show. Since it’s a song most people associate with Sinatra, it struck me as a good title. I performed it as part of CabaretFest! Provincetown in June and to a standing-room-only crowd in Jamaica Plain in July.
Most people might not know that he had a great respect for other singers, specifically Mabel Mercer and Tony Bennett. “Everything I know, I learned from Mabel Mercer” and “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.”
Click here for a closer look at the Sinatra songs featured in Come Fly With Me: Brian De Lorenzo Celebrates Sinatra at 100 on Thursday, October 29 at Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave in Boston, Massachusetts at 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets!
- Jeanne Denizard
“Entertainment » Music
Come 'Fly' With Brian De Lorenzo (and Frank Sinatra)
by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Thursday Nov 5, 2015
Actor/singer Brian De Lorenzo returns to the cabaret scene with a tribute show to Frank Sinatra that comes to Club Café this week prior to engagements in New York & Mexico. EDGE caught up with De Lorenzo about his show, "Come Fly With Me.
In the past 25 years Brian De Lorenzo has carved a career as a Boston-based actor and singer. Either on stage in musicals as varied as Andrew Lippa's "The Wild Party," "Little Mary Sunshine," "Forever Plaid" and "Next to Normal" or on cabaret stages in Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, De Lorenzo has repeatedly shown his vocal and acting prowess. He has also shown keen intelligence in his choice of material, be it on his debut CD "Found Treasures," a collection of lesser-known Broadway songs, or in the programs he draws from the Great American Songbook. He also pays his respects to the great singers that have come before him, as in his Nat King Cole tribute show and, coming up this week in Boston before traveling to New York and Mexico, a new show that celebrates Frank Sinatra, specifically Sinatra in the mid-1950s when he re-invented himself and became the hip leader of "The Rat Pack." It was a great comeback for a singer whose career had hit bottom in the first years of that decade. The show, "Come Fly With Me," takes its title from Sinatra's 1958 best-selling LP that featured the singer on a musical trip around the world with songs arranged and conducted by the great Billy May. De Lorenzo premieres the show this Thursday (October 29) at Boston's Club Café, before moving on to New York City next month and the Mexican resort Puerto Vallarta in December. Accompanied by the Scott Nicholas Trio, Brian's sly mix of swing and romance selections take audiences through a musical tour of Rome, Paris and Bombay with fresh arrangements of Sinatra classics interwoven with stories about the singer as well as some from De Lorenzo's career.EDGE spoke to De Lorenzo about the show inspired (in part) by the 100th anniversary year of Sinatra's birth.
EDGE: Perhaps this is asking the obvious, but what is it about Sinatra that makes him a great singer?Brian De Lorenzo: More than a great singer, I think of him as a great entertainer. He had an ease about his performing. People were drawn to that ease, that 'coolness.' That was especially apparent in his live performing with 'The Rat Pack.' A lot of singers from the 50s and 60s tried to imitate him, but no one really matched him. He had a very long career and, although his career waned a couple of times, especially in the mid-to-late 60s, people have always come back to him and those wonderful songs. He had a great influence on popular music in the 20th century, and it's kept on going into the 21st. I also have respect for him because he had praise for other singers -- like Mabel Mercer and Tony Bennett.EDGE: How did you come to this material, being primarily a musical theatre performer?Brian De Lorenzo: Over the years I've participated in many concerts, revues, and benefits for groups like American Classics, New England Light Opera, and Upstage Lung Cancer. Many of those events were in tribute to singers and songwriters of the 'Great American Songbook' -- people like the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Nat King Cole, and Rosemary Clooney. For these events, I learned material I hadn't performed before and was able to add that to my solo repertoire. I also wanted to stretch my stylistic choices, in addition to choice of material, so I began putting more 'swing' into my shows, and working with a jazz trio or quartet.
A great innovator
EDGE: Is there a period in his career when you think he was at his best?
Brian De Lorenzo: Vocally, I think he was probably at his best in the 1940s, though the sound quality from recordings from that period isn't very good. However, overall, I think he was at his best in the 1950s, when he brought more of his life experience into his interpretations of the material. EDGE: He is appreciated as a singer and personality, but do you think he was a great innovator, especially with his Capitol collaborations with Nelson Riddle and Billy May?Brian De Lorenzo: Tommy Dorsey was probably in charge when Frank sang with the orchestra in the late 30s/early 40s, but I imagine that when Frank became a big hit as a solo artist, he became the decision-maker on what kind of material he would be willing to do. So I'm sure a lot of the ideas that were used in the making of the Nelson Riddle and Billy May recordings came from Frank. So yes, I do think he was a great innovator. By the way, I read that Frank said that his favorite album of his own recordings was one he did with Billy May -- 'Only the Lonely.' I do a number from that album which most people probably don't associate with either me OR Frank Sinatra: 'Blues in the Night.' Of course, I've changed it up a little by modifying the time signature in a few places and by doing a different ending, which I heard the lyricist of the song (and co-founder of Capitol Records) Johnny Mercer do on a recording I have. Mercer was such a great lyricist and we do five songs in the show with his lyrics.EDGE: His album 'Come Fly with Me' offered a musical tour of the world. Are you doing the same thing with your show?Brian De Lorenzo: I do have a section in the show that is a little tour of the world, though I sing only one of the other songs from that album -- 'I Love Paris,' which was a bonus track on the CD re-issue. My husband [John Amodeo] and I love to travel, and the songs about travel just sort of fell into place when I was putting the show together.
Honoring Sinatra's birth
EDGE: How did you come up with the idea for the show?Brian De Lorenzo: About a year and a half ago, I was asked to come up with a list of songs for an Upstage Lung Cancer benefit saluting Dean Martin and the Rat Pack. As I was looking at song titles, I remembered that a couple of years prior, I had had the idea of doing a show saluting some of the best known Italian-American singers, since I'm also Italian-American. So preparing for the USLC benefit was the catalyst to doing a salute to Tony Bennett and Sinatra (Sinatra, Tony, & Me) which I did at Scullers in Boston and the Metropolitan Room in New York last year. In January of this year, I decided to do an internet search of famous entertainers and songwriters that might be having an important anniversary in 2015. When I saw that the 100th Anniversary of Sinatra's birth would be on December 12, I knew what to do -- I would replace Tony Bennett songs with Sinatra songs and I'd have the show. I wanted to give the show a name that people would associate with Sinatra, and since the song would be in the show, I chose 'Come Fly with Me.'EDGE: Do you have a favorite Sinatra album?Brian De Lorenzo: Ironically, we didn't have any Sinatra albums in the house when I was growing up. My parents weren't really fans. So I only heard Sinatra on the radio and TV. Even as an adult, my husband and I have only two Sinatra albums in the house -- 'Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey's Greatest Hits' and 'The Sinatra Christmas Album,' though we sometimes listen to Ron Della Chiesa's 'Strictly Sinatra' radio program on WPLM and the Sinatra channel on XM Radio. When I was younger, I also enjoyed seeing him in films like 'High Society' and 'Can-Can.' He had charisma that was hard to ignore.When I was a child, I think I was subconsciously learning selections from the Great American Songbook, when my mother played her one Nat King Cole album and multiple John Gary albums (most of which I now own on CD). I was also re-introduced to that material when I began collecting Barbra Streisand's early recordings after college. Then it probably wasn't until after the turn of the millennium when I began incorporating some of those great songs into my own repertoire.
A delicate balance
EDGE: Is it difficult for you to balance your personal life with your career?
Brian De Lorenzo: Right now, I'm working on two different benefit shows (one for Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, the other for Upstage Lung Cancer at the Lyric Stage on 11/10) in addition to the five performances in three cities of 'Come Fly with Me' (Boston, New York, and Puerto Vallarta). On 11/8, I'll also be participating in the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists (BACA), of which I am a co-founder and past president, on my way home from my second performance of 'Come Fly with Me' at Don't Tell Mama in NYC. Plus, I have a day-job at a social services non-profit called Boston Senior Home Care. We supply management services to elders and the disabled so they can remain in their own homes. That's a very long way of saying yes, at least at the moment, it is kind of difficult - but manageable. Luckily, I have my husband giving me all kinds of support, including doing lots of legwork to get the word out about 'Come Fly with Me.' I don't think I could do this without him. By the way, John and I will celebrate 25 years together in January.EDGE: Are you planning on making a recording of this show?Brian De Lorenzo: There are no definite plans right now, though after our rehearsal the other night I thought, 'Wow, this is great! I think we need to go into a recording studio.' So that could happen in the first part of 2016.EDGE: You are doing the show in Boston next week, New York in November and Puerto Vallarta in December. Are you planning on bringing it to other locations?Brian De Lorenzo: We don't have any set plans yet, but we'd really like to bring the show to more venues and cities. It's really great music and I know people love it, so we'd like to share it with as many people as possible.EDGE: What's up for you in 2016 - any upcoming acting gigs?Brian De Lorenzo: I'm concentrating less on acting now, though when I see a posting for an audition for a show I'd really like to do, I'll go to the audition. But I'm really enjoying doing cabaret work and concerts and hope to do more. While I really enjoy the collaborative process of theatre, in cabaret I have so many more choices of material to sing, and I can give audiences a different perspective on songs they know - or maybe thought they knew. And it's really rewarding to see and hear when I've been able to 'move' people in the audience. That's when I know that we're making a connection with each other and with the material. And that's really what this is all about.
Brian De Lorenzo performs "Come Fly With Me" on On Saturday, November 7 at 7pm; Don't Tell Mama, 343 W 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, between 8th & 9th Avenues; for Reservations, call: 212-757-0788 or visit: http://www.donttellmamanyc.com/home. For more about Brian De Lorenzo visit his website.
Robert Nesti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bob Nesti
Weymouth native Brian De Lorenzo pays tribute to Sinatra’s 100th
Weymouth native and cabaret artist Brian De Lorenzo, will perform "Come Fly With Me...[+]
By Jody Feinberg, The Patriot LedgerPosted Oct. 27, 2015 at 4:23 pmUpdated Oct 27, 2015 at 4:27 PM
Millions of people are fans of Frank Sinatra, but relatively few singers do justice to him.
Cabaret singer Brian De Lorenzo takes the songs of the legendary performer and interprets them with his own style. De Lorenzo, who grew up in Weymouth and lives in Dorchester, performs “Come Fly with Me,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra this Thursday in Boston.“When Sinatra was onstage, he had a confidence and swagger,” De Lorenzo said. “Singers have tried to imitate him, but don’t quite get it. When I’m on stage, I’m me. I think people enjoy it more when I’m not acting.”
During the hour-long show, De Lorenzo will sing about 18 songs, interspersed with anecdotes about Sinatra and his own life. He will be accompanied by the Scott Nicholas Trio. The upcoming string of shows will honor Sinatra’s centennial birthday on Dec. 12.
“I enjoy singing the sad songs and then after that singing something fun and upbeat,” said De Lorenzo, who will perform the show in New York City and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this year. “There is so much emotion in the lyrics, and I try to bring out my own emotion and story and hope audiences will identify with that,”
When De Lorenzo sings “Autumn Leaves” and “Autumn in Rome,” for example, he shares anecdotes about his travels in Italy and Cuba with his husband, where they stayed in the same Havana hotel as Sinatra.
De Lorenzo, an office manager at Boston Senior Home Care, has performed at Scullers Jazz Club in Cambridge, as well as clubs in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. He has been nominated three times for the “Best Cabaret Show” Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award, and his CD “Found Treasures” was nominated for the 2000 “Recording of the Year” Award by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. He also has starred in Boston productions of the musicals “The Wild Party” and “On the Twentieth Century.”
Like musical theater, cabaret has its distinct rewards.
“In cabaret, you’re not playing a character and you have more control and freedom as the artist,” he said. “You can patter with the audience and sing songs that were written for perhaps the opposite sex or roles you would never get cast in.”
Opening the show with “The Best is Yet to Come,” he follows with: “Come Fly with Me,” “I Love Paris,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Luck Be a Lady” “Fools Rush In,” and “My Foolish Heart,” among other songs.
After a recent rehearsal with his band, De Lorenzo said he is excited to bring Sinatra to his audience.
“When I go to a cabaret, I feel like I’ve had a good experience if I’ve both laughed and cried,” De Lorenzo said. “If I can touch people to have that same experience I feel like I’ve done my job as an entertainer.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Come Fly with Me”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston.
Jody Feinberg may be reached at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @JodyF_Ledger.
- Jody Feinberg