Tom Andersen

My Favorite Sings

Don't Tell Mama
New York, NY
After an absence of a decade, the award-winning vocalist Tom Andersen made his return to solo performing in New York with My Favorite Sings, a smashingly entertaining show that had long-time fans and new converts alike clamoring for more. For only three shows at New York’s Don’t Tell Mama, Andersen and his musical director, the indefatigable James Followell, held the audience in their sway with an eclectic collection of classic American Songbook selections, a handful of Andersen’s "hits" and some new original collaborations that all proved winners.

Long admired for his shimmering, lyric tenor, Andersen’s voice remains a marvel of artistry and control. Whether singing a medley of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s songs from Oklahoma!, a contemporary ballad like Hugh Prestwood’s “Ghost in This House,” or a Broadway show tune like “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” from Avenue Q, Andersen’s gift as a singer is knowing just how much to give, emotionally, to every word and note. His phrasing is a master class in interpretation of lyrics and his throbbing, musical intensity remains rapturous. Unsurprisingly, Followell’s arrangements were terrific.

Also delightful is Andersen’s low-key, self-deprecating personality that comes shining through in his charming banter with the audience. He’s an “everyman” who possesses a unique gift for storytelling, as evidenced by his superb readings of “Storybook” from The Scarlet Pimpernel and, of all things, “The Journey Home” from Bombay Dreams. He’s also a natural comic, proven by his hilarious ode to Derek Jeter, “Derek,” surely one of the funniest pieces of original material ever penned for a cabaret act. But be careful: Just as you’re being drawn into Andersen’s hilarity, he’ll crack open your heart with the precision of a surgeon as Julie Gold’s “The Journey,” a longtime Andersen standard, attested. Let’s hope Andersen returns soon, for he’s been sorely, sorely missed.  Never has crying felt so very good.

David Husrt
Cabaret Scenes
August 16, 2011