This review of Brian Gens at Don't Tell Mama was written and published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume II, Issue 1 (March, 1998) of Applause! Applause!
Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 3/22/98 at 2:00 p.m.
Brian Gens is a major talent who is one of the most underrated cabaret performers on the eastern circuit. I was mesmerized by his honest, emotional, sensual portrayal of the songs he selected for his current show. I was swept away by his style, especially by his perfect hand gestures, body movements and tonal delivery. His powerful, pleasing voice and youthful yuppie look combine to create an experience you should not miss!!
There were no bad numbers in this show and although some numbers stood out such as "Catch A Falling Star" (Words and Music by Paul Vance and Dean Pockriss); "Make Me A Kite" (Words by Michele Brourman, Music by Amanda McBroom); "Singin' In The Rain" (Words by Arthur Freed, Music by Nacio Herb Brown); "A House Is Not A Home" (Words by Hal David, Music by Burt Bacharach); "Museums" (Words and Music by Steven Lutvak); and a Big Time Medley of songs which included "Broadway Baby" from Follies, "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl, "Tomorrow" from Annie, and "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy, I would be hard pressed to suggest the possible exclusion of any of the remaining numbers since they were all so well delivered.
Steven Wing, Brian's musical director, was a great asset to the show both as a pianist and a back-up vocalist. While I have not yet seen Steven Wing's new individual cabaret show, I am extremely pleased to see that they have abandoned, at least for the time being, their former joint shows which were entitled "Steven Wing and Brian Gens". Those shows did not allow each of these very talented men to feature their individual styles and abilities. The joint shows, quite simply, did not work.
While I feel the patter could have been more insightful and revealing, the show better themed and the performer warmer, friendlier and more engaging in his public personality, there is nevertheless enough magic and talent here for me to highly recommend that you catch this "boy singer" at his last show which will take place on Sunday, April 19, 1998 at 2:00 p.m..