BOBBY SCHULTZ, JONATHAN ESCOBAR AND NICK D'ANGELO
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CT CABARET THEATRE
Anthony Dominick "Tony" Benedetto earned his stage name from Bob Hope when he opened for the famous comic and crooner. Performing for more than seven decades, he is more popular now than ever, recently headlining with Lady Gaga, singing duets like "Anything Goes" in their new album "Cheek to Cheek." Sliding gracefully into his 89th year, Bennett has enjoyed a cult of stylish favorites from jazz to pop, probably best known for his hit "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
Appropriately that is the title of a new tribute show featuring many of his greatest tunes now lighting up the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin weekends until Saturday, September 5. Created by David Grapes and Todd Olson, with musical arrangements by Vince di Mura and Summerwind Productions, "I Left My Heart" also includes personal anecdotes about the man and his music.A trio of dapper young men, snappily dressed, include Nick D'Angelo, Jonathan Escobar and Bobby Schultz, who belt out a litany of hits for your listening enjoyment. Grab a top hat, white tie and tails and book a table to hear the best of Berlin, the Gershwins, Mercer, Ellington and Arlen, to name drop a few.Frank Sinatra called him the best singer in the business. Judy Garland proclaimed the world needs him. Because of his charity work, he’s been renamed “Tony Benefit.” Born in Astoria, Queens, New York, the son of a grocer and a seamstress, he is almost as well known as a painter, using his birth name Benedetto, as he is a famous crooner of tunes.Come be serenaded with all his greatest hits and a few lesser known numbers as well as share stories of the man in anecdotes and personal tales.A four piece jazz combo will guarantee there is smooth sailing as the men of the moment, go “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” encourage you to “Come Fly With Me,” croon you a “Lullaby of Broadway,” fiddle with "That Old Black Magic,” try to “Make Someone Happy” and promise to be there “As Time Goes By.”With polish and pizzazz, they hopscotch across the seven decades of Bennett’s career and touch on more than three dozen hits from his one hundred albums to share the best of this American icon’s songbook. From “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” to “Because of You,” “Stranger in Paradise” to “Crazy Rhythm,” these classy gents help us remember why Tony Bennett has endured and is clearly “a classic.”In honor of his 85th birthday, in September 2011, he released “Duets II,” debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, making Bennett the oldest living artist to reach that top spot. New generations are continually discovering him and the music of Cole Porter, Gershwin and Johnny Mercer that he made memorable.Kris McMurray directs this wonderful musical salute that ends with Bennett’s signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He first sang it at the Fairmount Hotel in 1961 in that city by the bay and it has been his song ever since. Bennett claimed “That song helped make me a world citizen. It allowed me to live, work and sing in any city on the globe. It changed my whole life.”For tickets ($30), call CT Cabaret, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Come with goodies to share at your table or plan to buy dessert and drinks at the concession stand. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.Jump aboard that little cable car and “Make Someone Happy” by climbing halfway to the stars…when the golden sun will surely shine for you.