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By Jacqueline Monahan
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Gene Ferrari  - One Night Only at the Italian American Social Club

On March 26, 2016, the venerable Italian American Club at 2333 E. Sahara Ave., will have a Ferrari in its showroom.  Gene Ferrari, the polished Sicilian tenor with striking blue eyes, will flex his velvety vocal cords for a one-night-only show.  Get ready to swoon.

Gene Ferrari
Gene Ferrari

He’s been everywhere and (almost) done everything.  The songs are familiar and the repertoire is huge, but the experience is singular.  Armed with standards from Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, and Neil Diamond, among others, Ferrari’s interpretations, command of the stage, and vocal sincerity create a unique musical dialogue with the audience.
 
Ferrari presents as one stylish package, the blue in his silk tie complementing the blue of his eyes and the understated elegance of a performer polished from encounters with countless spotlights, supplemented by advice from friend and mentor Englebert Humperdinck (Enge - pronounced “Enj”- to his friends).

Performing pieces from entertainment legends to current pop-rock, country, and Broadway, Ferrari flexes his 2 ½ octave vocal range and ability to sing and speak fluently in English, Italian, French and Spanish; oh yes, and Arabic, learned from an early childhood in Egypt. This Ferrari’s been around, collecting wisdom and words.  The Catania, Sicily native is a multi-linguist who learned English from watching Bonanza and soap operas with the help of an Italian-American dictionary.  He thinks in English and looks up two new words each day (Dictionary.com).
 
Headlining on stages throughout the world, the singer has also been the opening act for such legends as Bob Newhart, Joan Rivers, and Don Rickles (talk about silk and sarcasm).  To complement such dynamic artists, you must generate sparks of your own, and Ferrari manages that feat with his vocal cords, lassoing the audience with sound and substance.

Rivers’ tag line may have been Can We Talk? but Ferrari’s is Can He Sing! His artistic interpretation of classic standards introduces a newness to the songs you thought you knew.  Backed by an orchestra that typically includes brass instrumentation, Ferrari launches into an upbeat tempo Please Release Me (Engelbert Humperdinck) a surprising twist to the usually plaintive number.  Then again, a Ferrari is a fast vehicle that takes you places, and this one delivers.

There’s a dramatic, emotional quality to his presentation, as if he’s asking the audience to assist him in understanding the mysterious ways of love, a word that appears in most of his repertoire. He’s been called the last of the romantics for good reason.

Ferrari says he “has a sense of America” and is “comfortable on stage” which no doubt his audiences can perceive.  He sings God Bless the USA (Lee Greenwood) as if he were born here and that’s not something you can fake.  His charismatic presence emits waves of energy, passion, and enthusiasm for his material so that hearing many of the standard tunes feels like the first time; in Ferrari’s hands, that just might be true.
 
His performance, from first ballad to final bow, includes songs like Sweet Caroline, Love on the Rocks, America, Hello, I Am I Said, (Neil Diamond) Love is in the Air (John Paul Young, Tom Jones), Love Is All I Have To Give (Engelbert Humperdinck), Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Elton John) and I’m a Believer (Monkees).  He frequently opens with A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (Frank Sinatra).  You’ve heard them all before – but not this way.  The silky voice can turn husky and powerful; it can even launch into operatic territory.
 
The March 26 show features Ferrari accompanied by the Mariano Longo orchestra, a 12-piece group that’s worked with him before.  Known as the “voice with heart,” Ferrari takes the stage at 8:00 p.m.
Ferrari Facts:
•    He’s an American citizen
•    He’s played England, Spain, France, the Middle East
•    Has lived in the U.S. since 1972
•    Managed by Andy Anka, Paul’s father
•    Don Rickles once advised him to cut his hair (it’s still pretty long)
•    Enge is a good friend
•    Opened for:  Pat Cooper, Dom DeLuise, Jackie Mason, Rich Little, David Brenner, and Jay Leno
•    Brings an international flair to the stage

He learned timing from Rickles, polish from Enge, and how to balance a stage from countless gigs around the world.  He’s soft-spoken, an old soul and loner by his own admission.  He’s Gene Ferrari, sending out musical love letters to the assembled crowd, singing to everyone yet singing only to you.

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