Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
My history with these two goes back quite a while. While I was still in Boston there was a lot of buzz about two young brothers who were beginning a cabaret career. This is when they were at Boston College. I may have seen them perform during this period of time at some collective event or other, but my mind won't confirm or deny. Artist Series Concerts jumped on the Nunziata Brother's bandwagon early, presenting them eight years ago.
Will and Anthony got the show off to a great start with "This Could Be the Start of Something Big," words and music by the late and very great Steve Allen. In my opinion, this song is one of the ten or so greatest openers for this kind of show. Next up was Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." Mel Torme and Barbara Cook still are the ne plus ultra for this song, but the brothers added some vocal harmonies which I have never heard in this song before. It has always been a great favorite, so I loved it. Then came "Make Someone Happy," music by Jule Styne, lyrics Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from Do Re Mi. Other highlights of the first half included a medley of two Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse songs, ("Who Can I Turn To" and "What Kind of Fool Am I?"), two originals written and sung by Anthony ("Will You Be My Everyday" and "The Best Man"), and the closer, two songs from South Pacific ("This Nearly Was Mine" and "Some Enchanted Evening).
The second half began with "Just in Time" and continued with solos, "Somewhere" for Anthony and "Being Alive" for Will. Although we've heard "Being Alive" covered by most of the major Sondheim interpreters, including Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters, Will began moderately softly so that he could build for a big finale, making his version stand up well. Other highlights included David Foster's "The Prayer," an original written for their mother "The Gift is You," and a solo by Will "This Is My Life," which he said was a tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr., but in my mind the song belongs completely to Dame Shirley Bassey who made it a central item in her repertoire. They closed with the Garland/Streisand duet version of "Happy Days are Hear Again" and "Get Happy."
The brothers were accompanied by Eugene Gwozdz on piano, who joined Will and Anthony in onstage merriment, and local artists Brandon Robertson on bass and Rick Costa on percussion.
This concert was presented at Venice Performing Arts Center, a venue new to me. It has seating for over 1000, perfect for the Venice Symphony and Venice HS concert band and some other shows, but with only about 250 in the audience, it may have not been a perfect fit size wise for this show, though it is a delight acoustically.
I am thrilled to see how far the Nunziata brothers have come. The spoke about performances at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops a bit ago as being a highlight for them. I glanced at their upcoming schedule and am happy to report that they are very busy performers. This success could not come to two nicer performers. Should they be in your area, I recommend seeing them.
Broadway Our Way was presented March 25, 2018, by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota at Venice Performing Arts Center, Venice FL. For more information, please visit artistseriesconcerts.org.