WIDESCREEN: Songs From & About the Movies
Eric Michael Gillett's beautifully considered new show at Feinstein's at Loews Regency is a loving tribute to the world of cinema.
While Gillett has made his name in clubs, on Broadway (where his credits include Kiss Me, Kate and Sweet Smell of Success), and in the world of the circus -- both as a longtime ringmaster of Ringling Bros. and the current director of the Big Apple Circus' Dance On -- he comes by his love of the movies naturally, having grown up in Culver City, just blocks from the MGM lot.
Here, he expresses his decades-long romance with the big screen from quoting old movie lines (including a priceless recreation of two scenes from All About Eve) to a spirited rendition of Craig Carnelia's salute to Hollywood, "Old Movies," to Barry Kleinbort's clever medley of supposedly "forgotten" movie themes.
A remarkable interpreter with an actor's training, Gillett soars highest when performing character-driven and story songs, such as Carnelia's "Blood on the Moon," about an actor looking back on his life with pride and regret; Amanda McBroom and Gordon Hunt's gorgeous "Errol Flynn," in which the adult narrator remembers the life of his father, a supporting player in old Tinseltown; and, most notably, Keith Carradine's Oscar-winning "I'm Easy."
He smartly delivers some timeless standards with great skill, including "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life," "Three Coins in the Fountain," and a truly haunting take on "Theme From Valley of the Dolls," as well as such lesser-known gems as "Somewhere in Time," "My Favorite Year" (sadly cut from the film of the same name), and "One More Hour" (from the film version of Ragtime).