Tuesday, January 15, 2008

David Pomeranz in New York

He sang his own songs, accompanied himself on piano and guitar and even beat out rhythm on top of the piano to backup his lyrics for one number. When David Pomeranz gives a one-man show, he brings many men and they’re all David and they’re all fantastic. Playing to a nearly full house, David brought “His Hits, His Musicals and More” to the Metropolitan Room last night.

My only experience of hearing David live before was for Broadway Blessing 2005 when he sang “Half a Dream,” a song he composed for Kathie Lee Gifford’s lyrics for the delightful musical “Under the Bridge.” But many in the audience proved they go way back with this singer/songwriter, holding up albums of his recording from decades ago.

His fans were happy to see him, and he returned their adoration by giving a high-energy, exciting 90-minute concert of new and old music. He shared stories behind some of the songs, like how he tried to change lyrics to a song of his Barry Manilow was scheduled to record, “Up, Down, Trying to Get the Feeling Again.” David thought his rewrite was better, but Manilow believed in the original and recorded it, to huge success. Still thinking the second version was better, David recorded it himself. The verdict -- “Barry was right.”

The evening took a serious and deeply moving tone when David sang selections from his musical about Charlie Chaplin. I hadn’t known anything about Chaplin’s background, but I got so involved in David’s musical biography that I wanted to hear more and more. David will be touring with this show, beginning in Florida in April. I very much hope it comes here.

One show of his that I did see, and gave a rave review, was “Under the Bridge” when it played Off-Broadway a few years ago. I was hoping he’d sing “Half a Dream,” but instead he sang “He Is With You,” a poignant little song Mireli, an older gypsy woman, sings to Madame Calcet, a woman whose husband has recently died, leaving her homeless with three young children. As it turns out, it was quite a contrast to what he had been planning to sing from “Bridge.” When I stopped by Kathie Lee Gifford’s table after the show to say hi, she told me he rehearsed “Paris,” the jaunty opening number sung by Armand, an old hobo who is the hero of the story. She said David changed at the last minute, singing “He Is With You” as a tribute to her father, with whom she was close. She also told me some exciting news about “Bridge” that I can’t disclose yet, but it makes me so happy to know this show has a bright future. Based on the children’s book The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, it’s a beautiful story of love, family and the search for a real home. The book is a blessing. I recommend that you read it, and stay tuned here for more details about the musical’s future.

David had begun his show with an inspiring song about reaching up and he ended with "It's in Every One of Us." Written more than 25 years ago, this song has been sung each week for the last two decades by thousands of worshipers around the world as part of services of the Church of Religious Science, Agape and Science of Mind churches. It was featured in the score for "Time," a musical that ran on London's West End for two years in the 1980s, in two American movies, "Big" and "Patty Hearst," and in an episode of the TV series "Fame." Most people in the audience knew it well as David led them in a sing-along.

It was a truly uplifting evening. I hope I can get David to join us again for Broadway Blessing, hopefully to sing a selection from the Chaplin show.

For more about David and his music, visit www.davidpomeranz.com.

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