Evan Tyrone Martin at the Florida Rep Theatre

Evan Tyrone Martin at the Florida Rep. Photo: Florida Rep
Evan Tyrone Martin at the Florida Rep. Photo: Florida Rep
Rating
4.6/5

How delightful that the season was extended! Perhaps it will be extended even more!

In this, the 24th season of the Florida Rep theater, singer-actor Evan Tyrone Martin stars in a romantic, sentimental musical journey set from the 1930s to the present. Martin is handsome, charming, witty, urbane, elegantly dressed, and owns a winning smile like the singers he honors and portrays.

Accompanied by pianist Victoria Casella, drummer Matthew Koller, and bassist Perry Orfanella, Martin guided us through the Great American Songbook and historic significant artistry of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett. He ably characterized elements contributing to the renown of each singer, reminiscing with us through nostalgic songs representing distinctive decades like I’ve Got the World on the String, Brother Can You Spare a Dime, Swinging on a Star, Straighten Up and Fly Right, For Sentimental Reasons, Nature Boy, Night and Day, Nice Work if You Can Get it, It’s Only a Paper Moon, The Candy Man, and much more. Martin also spoke of the challenges that faced African American luminaries like Sammy Davis Jr and Nat King Cole. He reflected on his own experiences as a lone minority while a college student.

In this intimate theatre setting, perfect for a cabaret performance, the packed house was wooed by Martin’s delightful repartee, sincerity, and musical artistry. Martin met the challenges of a varied repertoire, range, and styles with ease as he communicated directly with the audience through song.

With a seemingly simple set, skilled lighting, excellent sound, musical balance, choreography, and props like period microphones and a cabaret table setting where we learned of Nat King Cole’s final days, we were drawn into the times, and places presented.

Martin showed his versatility and power as a singer and actor. He displayed his mastery of styles and range, seamless shifting from one song to another, drawing us into the magic of music and verse as he projected feelings and memories into our hearts and imaginations.

After a standing ovation, Martin’s encore reminded us that tonight was about falling in love. He reprised Nat King Cole with L-O-V-E., Let’s Fall in Love, and When I Fall in Love.

“Let’s Fall in Love: A World Premiere Cabaret Event” plays in the ArtStage Studio Theatre through Nov. 21. Tickets start at $59/$55 and are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at (239) 332-4488. The theatre’s dynamic pricing model goes into effect after Oct. 25, and prices will go up to $69 for in-demand performances. Performances are Tuesday – Saturday at 7 PM, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and select Wednesdays at 2 PM. There are no performances on Nov. 12 or 13.   

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Edward A. Kliszus

Edward A. Kliszus

Performer, conductor, and educator Edward Kliszus began his musical studies at the age of 5 and has since been deeply involved in the fine, performing, and literary arts. He is a long-time and current member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). He studied trumpet performance and music education while attending the Manhattan School of Music and was a student of Mel Broiles, principal trumpet of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His post-graduate studies at New York University focused on trumpet and piano performance, music composition, and analysis of composer Elliott Carter's 1974 work Brass Quintet. He was music director and conductor of the New Jersey based Union Symphony Orchestra for 15 years and has performed at Manhattan's West Village venue Monologues and Madness. He currently focuses his artistic and creative endeavors on writing, music composition, piano jazz, and as a critic for TheFrontRowCenter.com and OpeningNight.Online. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University, Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, and Bachelor of Music from Nyack College.

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Evan Tyrone Martin at the Florida Rep Theatre

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