With a vigorous veneer of Broadway polish and a subtle touch of “down-home” country warm –heartedness, acclaimed singer/actor (Broadway, television’s Smash and Nashville) Will Chase captivated the crowd in his engaging concert at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. With a disarming yet confident manner, Chase immediately put the crowd at ease with a combination of classic standards, creative medleys, and esoteric theatrical numbers. Chase is an “actor’s singer” and he acted out every nuance of his songs as if he was telling an intimate story for the audience to listen in on.
Accompanied by Music Director/Arranger/Orchestrator/Pianist Eugene Gwozdz, the arrangements in this concert set were extremely witty and creative. The verbal interplay between Chase and Gwozdz was often hysterically funny as was the patter that Mr. Chase chose as interludes between songs.
Opening with a soaring, swinging version of the wonderful “Come Fly With Me,” Chase made one instantly forget the Frank Sinatra cover. Chase’s voice is fascinating in that – although he uses precise diction and you can her every word clearly—he never sounds artificial, for he fuses a natural and smooth resonant tone to the melodic line. The result is the unique and intriguing sound of a singer who is both totally theatrical and a popular, natural singer of sheer musicality as well.
A fantastic medley of Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn’s “Call Me Irresponsible” and “All the Way” was striking and innovative in its cumulative power. Chase utilized a very pleasurable pattern of slowly building his songs only to climax with resonant chest tones and, then, end with a soft and seductive vibrato.
A standout was the haunting “All at Once You Love Her” from the musical Pipe Dream”conjoined with the beautiful “Long Before I knew You” by Comden and Green. Medleys throughout were above the norm in arrangement and creativity.
The theme song from the hit film Norma Rae was interpreted beautifully. He mentioned that his friend David Shire wrote this ode to the working man. A strong ambience of melancholy pervaded this song and it is a shame this song is not performed more often.
Chase soon propelled himself into a jazzy, extremely up-tempo version of Gershwin’s beloved “Nice Work if you Can Get It.” He explained to the crowd that he performed in the show of the same name for a week as a replacement for Matthew Broderick.
A wonderful surprise was in store for the whole audience (as well as his Mother!) when he introduced his Father and Mother in the audience and then mentioned his Mother’s birthday. The whole audience joined in for a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” as his beloved Mother was presented with a birthday cake.
An intriguing song entitled “The Butterfly” was sung to great effect. Although this is a little known song from a musical that flopped entitled Story of My Life (as he admitted), his pride in the song was justified —for he proved it was a winning musical number.
As the concert neared its conclusion, Chase sang the rousing Leslie Bricusse standard “Who Can I Turn To?”. Chase sang this in an open and embracing manner of affirmation.
For his encore, Will Chase sang a lovely version of “The Rainbow Connection”.
Will Chase is a unique and captivating talent.
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Will Chase performed for one night only at the