By Emily J. Minor
City & Shore Magazine
Tony DeSare, whose ’50s-style crooner voice is winning hearts from Carnegie Hall to Vegas, is coming to South Florida Saturday (Feb. 20) to kick off this year’s “Up Close & Personal” series at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
The annual “series, arranged by The Venetian Arts Society of Fort Lauderdale and held at the museum, offers the chance for arts patrons to hobnob with performers in an intimate setting, says Venetian executive director William Riddle.
Before the concerts, held in a small museum hall or performance room, there’s always a cocktail hour. After the performance, there’s a champagne reception in the museum lobby – which the performer attends. Just one ticket pays for the entire evening. “There’s no VIP ticket or special ticket,” Riddle says. “And the artist is always at the champagne reception and available to talk with guests.”
Advance tickets are $35 for Venetian Arts Society members, and $55 for non-members. At the door, tickets are $5 more.
Landing DeSare to kick off the Venetian series was a coup, Riddle says, because the young performer is “living up to his distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad.”
From small jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas – where he headlined with Don Rickles – DeSare has brought a fresh take on old-school class, Riddle says. Indeed, DeSare has had three top ten Billboard jazz albums and has been featured on CBS This Morning, A Prairie Home Companion and the Today show.
One critic recently said DeSares performs with “infectious joy, wry playfulness, and robust musicality.” Another called DeSares “two parts Frank Sinatra, one part Billy Joel.”
In addition to DeSare’s 8 p.m. performance on Feb. 20, there are three additional concerts in the “Up Close” series. The artists and their dates are soprano Magda Nieves, with baritone Nelson Martinez, on April 21; Broadway great Avery Sommers on June 23; and actor/singer Levi Kreis on Oct. 20. For information on any of the performances, visit venetianartssociety.org