The Incomparable Sidney Myer

“I’m Perfect” (Phillip Namanworth) begins perhaps the most modest man in the business. Pangea is sold out. It’s an occasion, not an event. Material will be droll or poignant, unique to the artist. Performance will be genuine and direct. Much like Fred Astaire, a Myer rendition gets to the heart of a lyric. This show offers new songs as well as those now lovingly familiar.

“You Meet the Nicest People in Your Dreams” (Al Hoffman/Al Goodheart, Manny Kurtz) “…It’s funny but it’s true/That’s where I first met you/And you’re the nicest paradisest thing I ever knew…” Sounds like Myer, doesn’t it? Gentle bounce and a thumbs-up ending radiate warmth. “Broadway Moon” (Bonnie Lee Sanders/Steve Elmore/Tom Spahn) is a tender ballad. The performer’s eyebrows come to a point, palms open at his sides. In thrall, he captivates.

“Easy Money” (Cy Coleman/Ira Gasman) describes a state far from his (any cabaret vocalist’s) experience. Myer steps into its sentiments as if a cashmere coat, preening and reveling. “Let’s go shopping!” he sings with a little wiggle of pleasure, stepping now back, now forward.

Sidney Myer

“Nothing Ventured” (John Foster) might’ve preceded the unexpected abundance noted above: “You aren’t, you can’t, you won’t/Maybe those voices know something you don’t…” he sings with Jiminy Cricket’s consternation.”The failure to attempt/That failure is exempt…” he declares throwing an arm in the air, whipping half way round. “I was gonna go for that high note, but on second thought, why risk it?” Myer quips.

A nod to the season manifests clever Jewish lyrics (by the performer) to Joan Javits/Philip Stringer’s chestnut “Santa Baby.” “…Slip a brisket under the tree, some latkas mit applesauce too…” Myer rhymes northern star with Eli Zabar. And “A New Year’s Eve Love Song” (Joshua H. Cohen) which proclaims the singer will go anywhere in the world with his love except Times Square on December 31st.

Speaking of chestnuts, only Myer could disinter 1918’s “Indiana” (Ballard McDanley/James F. Hanley), replete with verse, giving it wistful freshness. “…The new mown hay sends all its fragrance/ From the fields I used to roam/When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash/Then I long for my Indiana home.” (To hear its usual treatment, YouTube Danny Kaye as Red Nichols in The Five Pennies.) Myer’s interpretation is cozy, lovely. Ambling piano, bowed bass and brushes like thrushes accompany.

To my mind, the highlight of the new section is Ty Jeffries’ “Nothing for You.” With deadpan disdain, Myer lists his ex’s offenses. Then, “You were hasty/I wasted by heart …” he frowns. “You tell’m!” an audience member calls out. We’re all on his side. “Got some sugar-coated lovin’ I’m gonna give to someone new/But I got absolutely nothin’ for you!” The measured tone is priceless. We all but cheer.

Tom Hubbard – bass, Sidney Myer

“Dance with Me” (Mark Sonnenblick from his show Midnight at the Never Get in which Myer originated a role) is a heartrending, melodic sigh. You can hear the dust settle in the reflectively quiet room. We believe every word. Vocal is tremulous.

‘Time for laughter and signature songs. Joan Cushing’s “Pheromones” is teasingly rendered with ripe suggestion to a burlesque arrangement. Chuck Prentiss’ “Mary Cohen”- “the most famous gringo in Santo Domingo” and the bright, cheery “Good Advice”(Alan Sherman/Lou Bush) during which Myer sashays, both elicit spontaneously joining the chorus or clapping in time. Some here mouth lyrics.

Myer closes with “Angels On Your Pillow” (Peggy Lee/Paul Horner). Tracy Stark’s sensitive piano, Tom Hubbard’s low humming bass, Ray Marchica’s symbiotic percussion. It’s dear.

Sidney Myer is in fine voice. The show flows without a single hiccough and notably no patter (‘Didn’t miss it.) Treat yourself. There’s no one like him.

The Incomparable Sidney Myer at Pangea
Director Peter Schlosser
MD/Piano – Tracy Stark
Bass – Tom Hubbard
Drums – Ray Marchica

Pangea Restaurant and Bar  
178 Second Avenue at 11th Street

Also December 19 and 22 and New Year’s Eve

About Alix Cohen (1433 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of ten New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, TheaterLife, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.