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John Lloyd Young Returns to the Café Carlyle

by Photo of Paul Hansen

The Former ‘Jersey Boy’ Lights Up The Manhattan Venue

John Lloyd Young Returns to the Café Carlyle

The winter season at the Café Carlyle continues to roll merrily along.   Award winning singer/songwriter/actor John Lloyd Young made a memorable return to the venue last week.

This is Young's fifth annual engagement at the Café, and after watching the show I can see why he has been repeatedly invited to return. He has a very finely focused tenor voice which he uses confidently and intelligently to deliver a wide spectrum of songs, including Paul McCartney's “Maybe I'm Amazed,” Jim Morrison's “The Spy,” and "Say No More" à la Roy Orbison.  He also sang several numbers - “Alone Together” and “Slow Dawn Calling” - which he co-wrote with his pianist and music director of the evening Tommy Faragher.

Young also seems happy to sing in the Romance languages, providing lyrics in Italian for the theme from The Godfather and a particularly expressive delivery in Spanish of Gabriel Ruiz's “Usted.” And of course he couldn't get away without happily including a few Jersey Boys hits - “Sherry” and “Can't Take My Eyes Off of You.”  His band, including Faragher, John Putnam (guitars), Paul Socolow (bass) and Eric Kalb (drums) provides vibrant accompaniment and gets a moment to particularly shine in the extended number “La Partida.”

Although Young comes across as genial, he also has a cool self-possession (augmented at times by sunglasses) which I think would work very well in a musical about 1960s rock. John seemed entirely comfortable in the small space of the Carlyle, but he has also performed in much larger venues, including Yankee and Dodger Stadiums, Radio City Music Hall, and The Kennedy Center.

Young was launched to fame about ten years ago when he originated the role of Frankie Valli in the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys, for which he won a Tony. In fact, he is the only American actor ever to win all four major leading awards for a Broadway debut. In addition to the Tony, he received a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award for his portrayal of the legendary singer.  In addition to receiving accolades for his portrayal of Frankie Valli on Broadway, Young also recreated the role of Valli in Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of the musical, which is significant because success on Broadway doesn't always guarantee an invitation from Hollywood.              

John also has fans in high places. Between songs he bantered a bit (without it sounding like name dropping) about performing for Lynne Cheney,  Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.  Young was also appointed in 2013 to President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 

Upcoming engagements at the Carlyle include acclaimed singer Joan Osborne who will be returning after a successful debut engagement at the Carlyle last year.  She will be appearing at the Café from February 28 to March 11.   Celebrated singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega will follow and will be making her Carlyle debut March 14-25.

And Woody Allen continues to play his clarinet with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band every Monday evening through June 19.

John Lloyd Young is performing at the Carlyle through February 25 and the title of his show is "Here For You."  I was sitting next to some of his fans during the show. As he strode onto the stage he seemed to recognize and acknowledge them, which was a nice gesture because I do not think they were among some high profile individuals in the room. The fans seemed to be very happy with the show and those seeking to enliven a cold February evening should be, too. The performance is a lot of fun and as Young made his exit some in the audience were literally dancing in the aisles.

The Café Carlyle is located at 35 East 76th St. in Manhattan.

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