Erich Bergen of Jersey Boys fame appeared at the Inner Circle of the Magic Castle Wednesday September 15 to launch his new CD The Vegas Sessions. Taking the stage with the gusto akin to a tornado or blazing brushfire, this young dynamo captivated the packed house from the moment he opened his mouth. There are singers with great pipes but no personality and others who rely on a strong charisma to pull them through. Bergen has talent to spare and enough charm to spread around. And he's truly funny and... fun. Exchanging quips with musical director Michael Orland between numbers like "Did you notice how I was really acting there?" brought the house down, as many Jersey Boys loyal fans were in attendance.
Highlights of the hour long set included his rousing opener "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die", a dynamite New York medley "Empire State of Song" arranged by Steve Orich with "I Love New York", "Another Hundred People", "Arthur's Theme", and "New York State of Mind", Bergen's own compositions "Wastin' Time" and the beautiful love song "I Hope You Know", and an obscenely hysterical "Blow Me a Kiss" which heretofore will be known as the "Come In Your Face" song. You have to hear it to appreciate the humor. There was also George Michael's "One More Try", Rupert Holmes' lovely "The People You Never Get To Love" and Larry O'Keefe's facetious "Sensitive Song".
Joining Bergen onstage were Jersey Boys costars Michael Ingersoll who did a hilarious duet with him entitled "A Jazz Odyssey", and later Rene Ruiz and Timothy Quinlan with all four performing "Cry For Me" written by Bob Gaudio whom Bergen played in Jersey Boys. Accompanying Bergen along with Michael Orland on piano were superior musicians Joe Hamilton on bass and Ed Smith on drums.
Like John Barrowman, another charming Broadway and West End singer/actor, Erich Bergen is an adorable guy who can really engage an audience and leave them smiling and wanting more. Be sure to catch him in the new musical Venice when it plays in October at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and in the meantime purchase his new CD The Vegas Sessions!