AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM

performed by: Frans Bloem
musical director, Sterling Price-McKinney
lighting designer: Arthur Adair

performance schedule:
October 31 - November 3
Thursday - Saturday 10:00pm
Sundays 5:30pm
The Club
tickets $15.00
*(Graphic by: Robert Risko)


Singer Frans Bloem of Holland, winner of a 2002 Backstage Bistro Award, has adopted the song repertoire of Charles Aznavour as his own. In doing so, he has amassed a considerable audience following and a stack of cabaret reviews to die for. Bloem began his theatrical career at La MaMa in 1971 and now returns as a headliner October 31 to November 3 with his newest show, AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM It's a "traditional" cabaret piece that is part of the burgeoning musical programming of the second-floor Club at La MaMa under the stewardship of Cultural Minister Nicky Paraiso. Born in Groningen, in the north of Holland, Bloem (pronounced "Bloom") has traveled the world and now calls Manhattan his home. He came to America in 1971 and was invited by Ellen Stewart to take part in the International Theater Workshop at La MaMa. Winner of the 2002 Backstage Bistro Award for outstanding male vocalist, he appears regularly at such New York nightspots as Danny's Skylight Room, Judy's Chelsea Cabaret, Chez Suzette and even SOHO's notorious Madame X. He performed this summer in Amsterdam at the famed Paleis van de Weemoed (palace of Nostalgia) and at the Casablanca Club. He has appeared in locales from Paris to Shanghai and Bangkok to Rio de Janeiro, with a few lesser known stops along the way. (Ask him about his elephant ride through the jungle to Chang Rai.) He is an alumnus of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret Symposium, where he studied with such luminaries as Julie Wilson and Margaret Whiting. He counts among his influences director Robert Wilson and acting coaches Larry Moss and George Axiltree. His next project will be called "X-PAT" (ex-patriot), a show about his adventures as a globe-trotting expatriate troubadour. AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM is not an impersonation, but an interpretation of the Armenian/French singer's work that is grounded in Bloem's "life process" as an international European world traveler. Aznavour, who did a "farewell" concert last weekend in Amsterdam, wrote about 600 songs in his long career, which was itself inspired by the Maurice Chevalier and supported by Edith Piaf. Bloem is bi-coastal (NY-Amsterdam) and has a world-weary visage and continental charm. Aznavour was greatly influenced by Russian/Armenian/Eastern European rhythms; Bloem has always felt at home in these "gypsy-like" styles and speaks five languages, including Russian. He also shares a heightened sensitivity to the intolerance of national cultures, as exhibited by his mastery of Aznavour's powerful ballad, "Ils Sont Tombes" (They Fell That Year), a song about the Turkish massacre of thousands of Armenians in 1916. Bloem performs AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM with his musical director, Sterling Price-McKinney. He has just done this show fifteen times in Amsterdam, and will continue to perform it there in 2003, following an engagement in Chile in December. Cabaret critics have labeled AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM the best show to-date of a man who is among the best in cabaret. Robert Stevens (Applause! Applause!) called him "one of the most passionate, sincere and talented individuals now performing on the planet!" and "arguably one of the top ten cabaret artists in the world." Jan Wallman called him a "consummate entertainer" and urged club owners to "offer special space to this special guy" after the demise of his downtown home, Eighty Eight's. Peter Haas (Cabaret Scenes) called AZNAVOUR IN BLOEM a "riveting show," praising Bloem for "passion that binds the audience to him" and the good sense to bind himself to ideal material after experimenting with American-styled cabaret for several years. Roy Sander (Backstage) wrote, "he comes across as part bohemian and part boulevardier, with the sparkle of a showman." Barbara and Scott Siegel (Backstage) asserted, "It's about time someone did an Aznavour show and Bloem looks like the right person to do it." The show includes such Aznavour favorites as "For Mama" (which Bloem has adapted, appropriately, as "La Mamma"), "They Fell That Year," "La Boheme," "What Makes a Man" and "Yesterday When I Was Young."

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