This review of Ronnie Giles' The Good, The Bad & The Lovely at Don't Tell Mama was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
The Good, The Bad & The Lovely
Starring Ronnie Giles
Musical Director: Daryl Kojak
Don't Tell Mama
343 West 46th Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 7/30/15 at 8:00 p.m.
Ronnie Giles was born in Hackensack and raised in Lodi, New Jersey. He caught the acting bug at the now defunct Palisades Amusement Park in Bergen County where, at only 5 years old, he was brought on stage by Nat King Cole. The audience laughed and applauded, and he was hooked. After attending Lodi High School, he was on the lookout for new experiences and - at the strong urging of the Lodi Police - was "persuaded" to join the United States Army on October 29, 1965. He served in Vietnam (April, 1966 to April, 1967) as an Infantryman, Armored Personnel Carrier Driver, Ammo/Radio Man & Tunnel Rat with "A" Troop, 3/4 Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division, Cu Chi RVN. Upon discharge from the Army in 1968, Ronnie decided to pursue his life-long dream of becoming an actor. He studied with William Hickey, Alice Spivak and Kathryn Sergava at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City and worked steadily in the industry from 1968 to 1988, becoming a member of SAG/AFTRA and the Actors Equity Association. In 1988, he rejoined the military full time. Post 9-11, he simultaneously worked on assignments with local, state and federal Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Agencies. During his last six years of service, he was attached to the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. and attained the rank of Sergeant First Class/E-7. After an Army career that spanned over four decades, he retired from the military, having reached his mandatory retirement age of 60 on November 13, 2007. He is now back to pursuing his acting and singing career full time. He has appeared to date in 14 feature films and in over 50 student/short/independent films in a variety of leading and supporting roles. He has done a number of shows at Don't Tell Mama and specializes in doing Frank Sinatra & The Great American Songbook tribute shows.
The Good, The Bad & The Lovely features an eclectic mix of songs which includes "I've Got You Under My Skin,", "On Broadway," "It Was A Very Good Year," Town Without Pity," "Call Me Irresponsible," Spanish Harlem," "Moon River," "Up On The Roof," and "Put On A Happy Face." Ronnie Giles is a consummate entertainer who truly enjoys the experience of being on stage and performing for his fans. His enthusiasm is infectious. He even broke out into a little dance number during one of the songs. Wearing a red shirt and red sneakers with white laces, Ronnie performed center stage or sitting on a stool and was extremely grateful both to Daryl Kojak, his expert musical director, and to the audience for coming out to see him despite the hot weather. He relayed the fact that it was so hot out, he "saw a chicken laying fried eggs."
Ronnie Giles sang a seamless smorgasbord of musical selections unencumbered by patter or song introductions. With this no-nonsense minimalist approach, you are provided with an unlimited all-you-can-eat buffet of the stylings of Ronnie Giles. During this show, he sang both upbeat songs as well as ballads, during some of which he "got emotional." Pointing this out to the audience, he said, "I've been through two wars and three divorces and I still cry like a little girl watching Bambi."
If you are a fan of "The Kid From Lodi, NJ" and enjoy hearing him sing and seeing him perform, this show is for you! What you get is the very essence of Ronnie Giles, a natural born entertainer!