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Marcus Simeone


Metropolitan Room: New York, NY
After a slightly awkward entrance into the room and on to the stage, Marcus Simeone began to cast his spell on the audience assembled at the Metropolitan Room in a show called Haunted. Appropriately named, given that it was the beginning of the Halloween weekend and costumed ghouls and goblins were already walking the New York streets.

Captivated by the word “haunted,” he explained that all his songs would relate in some fashion to the word’s definition. Although not my favorite premise for choosing a song list, in Simeone’s hands, and with his vocal prowess, it made for a powerful set indeed. The highlights were too numerous to mention them all.

With Tracy Stark at the piano, the ever-versatile Steve Doyle on electric bass and Sean Harkness on acoustic guitar, he opened with Floyd Tillman’s “I Love You So much It Hurts,” sung a cappella in his soulful, husky, sweet and seemingly effortless signature sound, and he coupled it with Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” backed by the band with a fine, bluesy solo by Sean Harkness.

His incredible note-sustaining ability was evident on phrases from Mercer and Arlen’s “Come Rain or Come Shine,” Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken’s “Cold Enough to Snow," (from the film Life with Mikey) and Heather Sullivan’s “Somewhere There Lies the Moon.” He allowed his fun side to emerge, in the midst of the heavier laments, with an arrangement of “All of Me” by Harkness, who accompanied Marcus on ukulele.

Given that most people in the room were aware that this has been a particularly difficult year for Simeone personally, several songs took on even greater emotional resonance.  In John Bucchino’s “If I Ever Say I’m Over You,” Rupert Holmes’s “My Father’s Song ” and Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “I Have a Love,” he revealed just how painfully vulnerable he’s been in certain close relationships and, by contrast, in Sade’s “Soldier of Love” and “No One Like You” (Bateman/Goldsmith/Soltau/Peterson/Zippel), he showed just how very resilient he is as well.

The encore “Haunted” (Simeone and Tracy Stark) perfectly punctuated the theme of the evening and, by so doing, exposed two, perhaps haunted—but very high-spirited— hearts.

Lynn DiMenna
Cabaret Scenes
October 29, 2010