TONY BENNETT: ONE LUCKY SO AND SO


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Bob Hope named him Tony Bennett. 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.

 

Music Theatre of Connecticut in Westport is paying splendid  tribute to Tony Bennett, the man and the music, weekends until Sunday, May 6 with the David Grapes and Todd Olson show “I Left My Heart...”

 

A trio of dapper and debonair gentlemen -- Christopher De Rosa, Johnny Orenberg and Jordan Wolfe -- will serenade you 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 three piece jazz combo will guarantee there is smooth sailing as the men of the moment, clad in tailored tuxedo perfection, 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 six 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.

 

Kevin Connors 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 ($30-45), call MTC, 246 Post Road East, lower level, Westport at Colonial Green at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

 

Jump aboard that little cable car and “Make Someone Happy” by climbing halfway to the stars…when the golden sun will shine for you.

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