Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Surfing Through Manoel Felciano
I saw the new Broadway production of Sweeney Todd recently and loved it. I knew Michael Cerveris and Patti Lupone would be terrific, of course. The big find for me was Manoel Felciano as Toby -- he was magnetic. Last night I saw him at Ars Nova, a 99 seat theater that often hosts Broadway stars giving informal shows on Monday nights when their show is black. Manoel -- who has a battered beauty akin to Gael Garcia Bernal -- was charming and amusing and definitely showed his preference for pop and rock over show tunes. He also was generous with the spotlight -- showcasing his one-time roomie in a song they'd performed in their band and bringing up buddies from Yale to do an a capella version of "How High The Moon." The main focus was on songs that served as touchstones for Manoel including Steely Dan's "Peg," George Michael's "One More Try," and a duet on Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love" that was funny, proved how difficult that guilty pleasure is to sing and would go to Number One if released as a single. The final surprise was a song from his musical director's musical The Hidden Sky. The title tune, it was terrifically engaging and original and made you want to hear more, just like the first time I saw Manoel himself. A real talent.