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solo performance · jon peterson · Ages 14+ · world premiere · one person show · United States

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June 17, 2014

My overall impression

Yes, this is a superficial “And then I…” retelling of Anthony Newley’s life, but Jon Peterson’s one-man outing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival is fun, escapist fare. In addition, audiences unfamiliar with the composer, actor, and one-time husband of Joan Collins should be flabbergasted by the gorgeous standards Newley left us (especially the ones he wrote with Leslie Bricusse). Peterson manages to evoke Newley’s iconic vibrato and gesticulations without ever being clownish or pastiche. Written by Peterson, and accompanied on synthesized piano with understated verve by Joshua Kranz,“He Wrote Good Songs…” is an honest view of the philandering entertainer who made it big at one point or another with Broadway, film, and concerts. While I’m not the biggest fan of these stereoptican slide-type presentations, the run down of Newley’s career is consistently intriguing and compelling. Plus, Peterson takes power ballads such as “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Who Can I Turn To?” and knocks them out of the Music Hall.

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