The charismatic Broadway star JAMES BARBOUR brought his Sixth Annual Holiday Concert to 54 BELOW, the hot new supper club in the Theater District, where he performed several shows featuring songs of the season with different quests. Mary Testa and Jesse Stevenson were his guests on the night we attended, which was truly a memorable celebration, because Jesse brought his little boy Pearson, who participated in several numbers illuminating the joyous spirit of the show.
Mr. Barbour hit his stride immediately with a marvelously rich "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and the room knew what he meant. He gave a witty rendition of Barbra’s "Sleigh Ride," and a lovely "White Christmas," with Jeremy Roberts on the piano while serving as musical director of the Holiday Concert, which Mr. Barbour admits is a favorite of his.
Jesse Stevenson performing the "The Christmas Song" was his first guest bringing his 6 year old son Pearson in tow with drum sticks in each hand. The little Pearson quietly upstaged his father, but Jesse didn’t seem to care. And before we realized Mr. Barbour had transform the intimate room into his very own living room, where patrons were treated as guests and participated in the festivities, singing along when asked to participate. This was most evident on the next song, an uproariously playful "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
Then Mr. Barbour brought his good friend and two time Tony nominee, Mary Testa, to the stage. She placed the little Pearson boy center stage on a stool with a drum, and drum sticks, while she took background for a magical rendition of "Little Drummer Boy," that was pure spontaneity, and Jesse Stevenson returned with Pearson for "Hallelujah."
Mr. Barbour’s annual Holiday Concerts have become an integral part of the Season in Manhattan with him singing Believe… "You have everything you need if you just believe." On this particular evening he sang a moving new song, he is still working on, about losing his mother, and "Bing Me Giants," before giving us another remembrance of his mother by closing out the evening with her favorite holiday song "Oh Holy Night," which may be our favorite, too, when this glorious baritone weaves his spell on one of the season’s most powerful classics.
Mr. Barbour, besides his Broadway duties and touring the world with his many concert shows is also the host of the Internationally acclaimed radio show The Star Power Hour airing, weekly, on the VoiceAmerica.com network. And as a producer James is in pre-production for a Holiday film slated to begin shooting in New York City this December for release in the fall of 2014. There are 4 additional films within this production format to be rolled out as the new year dawns. www.jamesbarbour.com on twitter James Barbour@JamesBarbourNow
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Photography By Barry Gordin