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Richard Holbrook Brings His Alan Jay Lerner Cabaret Tribute to Don’t Tell Mama
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Richard Holbrook Brings His Alan Jay Lerner Cabaret Tribute to Don’t Tell Mama

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Richard Holbrook:
It’s Time for a Love Song
The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner
A Centennial Celebration

Richard Holbrook on Vocals

The Tom Nelson Trio
Tom Nelson on Piano
Dick Sarpola on Bass
Peter Grant on Drums

Don’t Tell Mama
Manuel Araujo, Gen. Manager
343 W 46th St (8th & 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10036

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 24, 2018

See an interview with Richard Holbrook with advice for aspiring cabaret artists.

In a lovely tribute to Alan Jay Lerner, peppered with anecdotes and seasoned commentary taken from the entertaining history of Broadway and Cabaret, Richard Holbrook and The Tom Nelson Trio entertained the sold-out crowd at Don’t Tell Mama tonight. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there as wine flowed and music and song filled the intimate club. Richard Holbrook, whom I have reviewed and interviewed over the years on multiple occasions, introduced his new cabaret show with tales of Lerner and Burton Lane, beginning with the first number, “Ev’ry Night at Seven” from the 1951 film, Royal Wedding. Richard has a natural mastery of this genre with affect and gestures. “Hurry It’s Lonely Up Here”, from Lerner and Lane’s On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever), was percussive, while “It’s Time for a Love Song”, from their 1979 musical, Carmelina, was breezy and upbeat.

Moving on to Lerner and Frederick Lowe, “The Day Before Spring” was the title tune for their 1945 second collaborative Broadway show, which included Richard’s next number, “You Haven’t Changed At All”, with the band in mellow backup. It should be mentioned that Richard’s longtime band, with Tom Nelson on piano, Dick Sarpola on bass, and Peter Grant on drums, is perfectly syncopated with the mood, aura, tone, and rhythm of each song. This is a well-practiced and successful collaboration, just like those Broadway partnerships, about which Richard regales the crowd.

A Lerner and Lowe medley from the 1947 Brigadoon followed, with “Almost Like Being In Love” and “The Heather On the Hill”, with “From This Day On” sung with passion, later in the set. Another Lerner and Lowe musical, the 1951 Paint Your Wagon, was featured by Richard in three tunes, “I’m On My Way”, “I Talk To the Trees”, and “Another Autumn”. Richard takes multiple opportunities to educate his audiences with detailed tidbits about each of Alan Jay Lerner’s relationships, with Loewe, with Lane, and, in the following set of tunes, with Kurt Weill. The Lerner and Weill collaboration was featured here with “Here I’ll Stay” and “Economics”, both from the 1948 musical Love Life.

Multiple other Lerner and Lowe tunes were included in Richard’s new show, including the effervescent “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “On the Street Where You Live” from the 1956 My Fair Lady, which is currently enjoying a long run at Lincoln Center. The Lerner and Lowe 1958 enchanting film, Gigi was represented in Richard’s equally enchanting take on “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore”, followed by “Camelot”, the title tune from their 1960 Broadway musical.

Lerner also collaborated with Leonard Bernstein in a rarely seen 1976 musical, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and Richard sang “Take Care Of This House” with reverence and authority. Lerner and Lane’s On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) was given two more songs, the title tune and “Come Back To Me”. And, five more tunes from their Royal Wedding film made the cut, “I Got Me a Baby”, “Sunday Jumps”, “You’re All the World To Me”, “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?”, and the crème de la crème, “Too Late Now”. Each member of the band took generous solos as interludes and refrains, with seamless, sumptuous results. Kudos to Richard Holbrook, kudos to The Tom Nelson Trio, and kudos to Alan Jay Lerner.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at