Mr. Showbiz, that’s Paulo Szot! And I mean this as the highest compliment. The man who has always been a master musician – and can hold a note for days – is also a master showman, which makes for a massively entertaining evening.
The openly gay Szot’s voice is a seductive, luscious instrument, a large part of the reason he won a Tony his first time in a Broadway musical (South Pacific) – by the way, it seems like a serious oversight that he hasn’t been back on Broadway since. Never mind, though, he’s doing tours of a Hal Prince-directed Evita in Australia, and playing the lead in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago, and as a by-product of that, we get to hear an Evita medley and Bernstein’s “Lonely Town.”
He has incredibly solid musical taste, and real wit about the way he uses it. He talks about his fellow Brazilian Antonio Carlos Jobim’s collaborations with Frank Sinatra, and then weaves the single showtune Sinatra and Jobim did together, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” into a South Pacific medley. The absolute high points of this Broadway-centric evening were a reading of Sondheim’s “Being Alive” that is perhaps the most rawly emotion interpretation I’ve ever heard, and the song from South Pacific that has rightly become a signature for Szot, “This Nearly Was Mine.”
Szot is now definitively the total package! So when are we going to get another Broadway appearance, or even some studio albums? Highly recommended.
For tickets, click here.
To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.