Once Alex Santoriello starts singing, he’s hard to stop. Just ask his father.
“When Alex was a kid, he used to sing in the shower – and he wouldn’t quit,” said Monty Santoriello, who like his son, lives in The Villages. “I had to turn the water off to get him out of the shower.”
Alex Santoriello was in non-stop, explosive vocal form Thursday at Savannah Center. His show, “Broadway and Beyond 2,” was a benefit for Shriners Hospital For Children in Tampa.
Santoriello – backed by an eight-piece band that included a four-piece horn section – powered his way through a dynamic set that included Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Bobby Darin, Billy Joel and Don McLean.
A veteran of the Broadway stage, Santoriello has appeared in numerous Villages’ musicals over the past three years. But he revealed a more pop-music side of himself for this concert.
After his Broadway career, Santoriello ran a music club in Barbados and on Thursday he practically turned Savannah Center into The Villages’ biggest piano bar.
“I’m ready to kick it,” he said early in the evening. And, despite an Achilles injury to his left foot, Santoriello did just that.
He performed Billy Joel’s quintessential piano bar song, “Piano Man,” with a boozy flair. You could tell Santoriello sang from the heart – and nose – with the lyric, “and the microphone smells like a beer.”
He opened the concert with a couple of smooth and jazzy Sinatra classics, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Summer Wind.” And Santoriello kept the finger-snapping groove going with Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea.”
Then it was onto Broadway, where Santoriello flashed his theatricality as he not only sang the songs, but also displayed some slick moves on stage.
He brought a soulful feel to “Feeling Good” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint…” Then the mood shifted to fierce determination on “This Is the Moment” from “Jekyll and Hyde.”
Santoriello is at his best doing classic Broadway and he brought down the house with rousing performances on “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables” and “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha.” And he managed to top those two numbers with an ultra-dramatic “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.”
Then it was time to “get out of my comfort zone.” And Santoriello did just that with “Sweet Caroline” as he raced offstage and into the audience to lead a sing-a-long.
There was more audience participation on the Tom Jones’ classic “Delilah,” as Santoriello acted as a conductor, waving his arms as the crowd sang with glee, “why, why, why Delilah.”
That set the stage for the hard-rocking “American Pie.” Santoriello once again was part cheerleader, part conductor, as he rocked with the band but slowed things down with the audience on the chorus, “bye Miss American Pie.”
This concert was a romping and rollicking trip through American music and Santoriello was the perfect tour guide for the journey.
“Alex has so much talent,” Monty Santoriello said of his son. “And he still loves to sing.”
Tony Violanti is a veteran journalist and writes for Villages-News.com.