Following a season of sold-out performances at The Green Room 42 after his debut at the popular midtown nightclub in November 2018, Mark William returned to the venue on Friday with the premiere of his brand new act Mark William: Feeling Good. The one-night-only cabaret concert not only had the full house of industry professionals and fans feeling good, but also celebrating the release of his first album on Yellow Sound Label, named for and featuring a track list of the classic hits from last year’s acclaimed show Come Croon with Me.
Though an emerging triple threat of the current generation (just returned from Philadelphia after a run in the US premiere of the newly revised production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein at the Walnut Street Theatre, spotlighting his talents as a tap dancer), the 20-something William (who looks even younger) is a devoted aficionado of the Great American Songbook and the Golden Age of crooners, as reflected in his selection of songs and his personal homage to mid-century stylings. From his dazzling post-modern dinner jacket and bow tie to his suave vocals and debonair moves, the rising star put his own new spin on the old favorites, giving them a fresh appeal for today’s audiences.
Co-directed by Preston and Richard Ridge and backed by a swinging six-piece band led by music director, arranger, and pianist Clint Edwards (with Jonathan Ward on drums, Sam Zerna on bass, Jernej Bervar on guitar, Oskar Stenmark on trumpet, and Dan Meinhardt on sax), William introduced the tunes and medleys he sang with comments about his love of the original artists, composers, and shows since childhood, and his commitment to “Sinatrafy” all of the more recent songs he likes to perform. His vintage taste and mastery of the genre came through smooth and clear throughout the evening, in a polished performance that impressed with its big notes and vocal range and engaged with expressive gestures, looks, and movements that relayed the mini-narratives and emotions inherent in the lyrics.
Among the highlights of the show were the upbeat opening number “A Lot of Livin’ To Do,” “The Trolley Song” (in which, he pointed out, there were no changed pronouns), “Just the Way You Are” (with that “Sinatrafied” sound), the elegant romantic-themed medley of “The Girl from Ipanema”/”The Look of Love”/”The Way of Love,” and the rousing “I Am What I Am,” which brought the concert to a final crescendo. William also included a brief segment of tap and a new song he wrote, “Wherever We Land,” performed in public for the first time and combining present-day references to rock music with such old-fashioned expressions as “I’m losing all my marbles” – a perfect synthesis of his own youth with the era he admires.
If you missed the premiere of Mark William: Feeling Good, there is no doubt in my mind that it will return to The Green Room 42 for future dates. In the meantime, you can listen to William’s charismatic versions of such 20th-century standards as “Come Fly with Me,” “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” “Everything Old Is New Again,” and “That Old Black Magic” on Come Croon with Me, now available on CD, digital download, and all streaming platforms.
Running Time: Approximately one hour, without intermission.
Mark William: Feeling Good played Friday, November 22, 2019, at The Green Room 42 – 570 10th Avenue, Yotel, 4th floor, NYC.