John Abernathy

Live for Life

The Music Mansion
Providence, RI
John Abernathy, whose youthful good looks bely the 50th birthday he was celebrating, confessed to a riveted house that the recent three-year hiatus in his performing was triggered by the untimely death of his parents. It was a period when he hadn’t felt like singing and wasn’t really living life. He then segued aptly and poignantly into “World, Take Me Back” (cut from Hello, Dolly!), which explained the entire evening in one determined dictum, sung with gusto, “I want to be part of the human race again.”

This upbeat and joyful show lived up to that pronouncement, beginning with a youthful pairing of “Never Never Land”/“Pure Imagination,” gleefully self-admonishing on the line “Never, never grow old.” Illuminating were iconic pop selections “Both Sides Now” and “The Secret o’ Life,” both displaying a maturity and clarity often missing in the telling.

Abernathy remained buoyant throughout, especially in the jolly “It's a Fine Life” (Lionel Bart) and the hard-lived “Here’s to Life,” presented in a driving swing arrangement by über-talented Musical Director Tom LaMark. But Abernathy shone brightest in a gorgeously reflective “In My Life,” letting his warm baritone linger on words like “changed” and “remain,” until we absorbed their meaning. Welcome back, Mr. Abernathy. We missed you.

John Amodeo
Cabaret Scenes
December 6, 2013