Sunday, December 4, 2011

Applause! Applause! Review of Christian Nova's "Walking Happy" by Maya T. Amis

This review of Christian Nova's show entitled "Walking Happy" at Don't Tell Mama was written by Maya T. Amis and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.

"Walking Happy" - Christian Nova
Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)

Christian Nova won the MAC award last year for Outstanding Male Vocalist, and no wonder. His new show, celebrating the release of the CD of the same name, is up to the standards of his last two shows, "Waitin" and "Feather In My Shoe", showcasing his outgoing personality, beautiful voice, and intelligent interpretations.

This is a show about the music that has shaped his life, from show tunes to pop spanning several decades. There isn't a bad number in the lot; merely a few standouts among an entire evening of standouts. A medley of Billy Joel's "Where's the Orchestra?" and of the standard "My Foolish Heart" melds the two into a dramatic whole, with an effective juxtaposition of hope and regret supported by some lush piano by musical director Wes McAfee. A much lighter song, "Sweet Gingerbread Man", is a bouncy little number just popping with wide-eyed optimism. Nova brings something extra to Craig Carnelia's beautiful "What You'd Call A Dream" that is very close to magic. The dreaminess in his eyes and hushed excitement in his voice perfectly mirror the mood of the song.

His contagious enthusiasm and clear emotional connection communicate themselves to the audience, making the show much more than merely a group of pretty songs, sung well. Instead, and appropriately for cabaret, it is also a series of shared memories and emotions, expertly delineated by his expressive voice and sensitive readings of the songs. As a supplement to catching Christian Nova perform, whenever and wherever you can, I strongly recommend the CD; it captures much of his ability of communicating feelings as well as his first-class voice, has an interesting selection of music, and is backed up by excellent musicians.

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