Singer details history of crooning in Cabaret show

Posted by admin on January 12, 2013

By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
November 6, 2012

Todd Murray demonstrated that he’s found a good niche as a singer when he performed in “Todd Murray: Croon,” his debut on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club in downtown Indianapolis.

Accompanied by Alex Rybeck on piano, Sean Harkness on guitar and Steve Doyle on bass, Murray sang selections from the ‘20s through the present, all the while detailing the history of crooning. He explained that before microphones came onto the scene, entertainers had to sing loudly in order to be heard. However, once amplification was introduced, singers were able to subtly interpret lyrics, creating a style which became known as crooning.

With leading man looks and possessing an appealingly rich baritone voice, Murray looked and sounded like the matinee idols who crooned in ‘20s and ‘30s film musicals as he sang to the modest-sized audience in the Cabaret’s Crystal Terrace Room.

Standout selections during Act 1 included Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” Bing Crosby’s “You Are Too Beautiful,” “You’ll Never Know,” made famous by Frank Sinatra, and Cole Porter’s “Under My Skin.” Shifting to modern times, Murray also sang Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” and “Michelle” by the Beatles.

Recalling legendary baritone Robert Goulet, Murray opened Act 2 with “If Ever I Would Leave You,” from Camelot. Continuing his musical survey, he also sang Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” and “Whispering,” during which he beautifully harmonized with the three members of his band.

Murray, who was personable and obviously well trained, proved throughout his act that he had singing chops and great technique, but what he lacked was a level of emotional depth that is evident when one is deeply connecting with an audience. Though entertaining, Murray’s act seemed more suitable for a cruise ship lounge rather than for a venue that has showcased some of the cabaret world’s finest performers during its brief yet wildly successful history.

For information about upcoming performances at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, call (317) 275-1169 or visit

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