Robert Whorton’s Face the Music and Dance puts the “E” in excellence in countless ways. From his elegant entrance in white tie and tails for an insouciant delivery of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave” and Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” we sense something special. Whorton captures the liquid sound of the Ziegfeld culture in “Keep Young and Beautiful” (Harry Warren/Al Dubin), then immediately offers “You Are Too Beautiful” (Rodgers/Hart) with the perfect mix of humility and joy. Removing the tailcoat, Whorton immerses himself in the collar-to-the- wind persona of the breadline denizen in “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (Some moments were a tad shrill for Davenport’s intimate space, but would soar in a larger room.) He transforms into a Woody Guthrie-esque folk singer trying to be optimistic in “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life.” There’s a relaxed jazz bounce to the Duke Ellington/Irving Mills “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” Whorton has money chops, but never makes his delivery about that; he uses his lush voice to tell many different types of tales—and does well at them all—in this pretty much flawless show. Musical Director Nick Sula is the right match, knowing when to give Whorton minimalist accompaniment and when it’s time for a delicious arpeggio. Bravo!
March 30, 2012