John McWhorter, Show Music Geek

May 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

John McWhorter is a show music geek. By his estimate, he owns about 600 cast albums. “I like to dig in the crates, as they put it in rap music.” As a child he taught himself to sing and play piano, got hooked on ragtime and has been plumbing the depths of the American Songbook ever since. Now he has come to Cornelia Street Café as an emissary from the world of forgotten proto-pop, a scholar of bright music shuttered by the random descent of obscurity. “If you dust it off and do the right arrangement with the right singer, you can give it the hearing it deserves, take songs written 60 years ago that about 500 people in the world have heard of and excite a room full of people who may not even be interested in musicals.” Obscurity, however, is never sufficient cause to bring a piece back to life. “Our rule is: You’ve got to like it the first time you hear it.” “My wife and I met at Marie’s Crisis Café,” which, if you didn’t know,  ” is mostly a gay singalong bar.” Of course, as he points out, there’s no such thing as a straight singalong bar, and if you’re an avowed show music geek, Marie’s Crisis is basically heaven. “We are one of two straight couples who met there and got married.” McWhorter is joined each month by a medley of friends and family, all deeply enmeshed in the ancient scene he adores. This month’s theme: Johnny Mercer.

This month John McWhorter & Friends: New Faces 2011 recurs on Friday, May 13th at 6pm. Reservations can be made through the button above or by calling 212/989-9319. 

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