Chris Barrett: Here's To Life At La Rivista!


Chris Barrett's back in the theatre district


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Chris Barrett is back doing what he does best - singing the great songbook of Broadway and popular American standards. Too, he's doing it in the center of the theater district. And, what a songbook it is! From an eclectic mix that includes the likes of so many greats from Cole Porter to Stephen Sondheim, Elton John and Noel Coward, etc., the list doesn't end, Barrett is among the last of his breed; a small handful left that recall those “good old days” when the likes of Danny Apolinar, Buddy Barnes, Marie Blake,Charles Deforest, Murray Grand and their ilk dotted the nightlife when packed piano rooms were as much a part of Manhattan nightlife as pizza and panhandlers. Once, in those piano rooms across the city such as One Fifth or The Lido, loyal denizens of the night flocked to enjoy good music played by master interpreters. Much of it is a distant memory. Some players switched gears to cabaret showcases like the late Bobby Short who added a band and attained legendary status and was ensconced at Cafe' Carlyle for over 25 years. Others found watering holes like saloons, piano bars or jazz clubs with mixed results. Some moved to more secure theatrical or coaching positions. Others jumped all over the place, took a sabbatical and resurfaced again. Chris Barrett, like a handful of respected peers, effortlessly became a fixture in Manhattan as well as Palm Beach and other haunts through the years. In doing so, he built a loyal following that has only grown. Through the years, good times and bad, he sits behind the keys and weaves his musical spell across a crowded room. He's got an amiable, compelling style that is welcoming and inviting. An evening with Barrett is like meeting that old friend you've been searching for. He's got style and pizazz. It's called panache. And, Chris Barrett practically invented it.


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In today's high-powered, digital-tech world that we exist in, it's become much harder to find venues that cater to those who want to hear a familiar tune in a classy, intimate setting (and also enjoy a great meal.) And, try finding it in a place that's still affordable. Barrett's brand of casual, sophisticated fun and nostalgia has become a rarity. Enter La Rivista, the popular Italian eatery on Restaurant Row well known for its exquisite Italian dishes and old world style that is, at once, relaxing and warm. For years, this bistro restaurant has had intermittent piano entertainment mainly on weekends usually with mainstay Franklin Underwood (a beloved holdover from the great days) and a bevy of others. More recently, the very popular and talented singer/pianist Steven Lowenthal holds court on Fridays and Saturdays. Now, they're bringing back full time live entertainment on weekdays. Enter Chris Barrett.

With Barrett at the keys, the visitor is guaranteed a good time. His repertoire is eclectic and filled with obscure surprises like Cole Porter's 1933 Georgia Sand from Nymph Errant or Arthur Hamilton's true beauty Rain Sometimes, an almost forgotten melancholic love ditty first recorded in 1967 by Matt Munro and later by Peggy Lee (1979) as well as other renowned artists like: Marlene Ver Planck, Hadda Brooks, Barbara Carroll and Nancy Wilson. Where else can you find gems like this? Barrett's Broadway baritone also serves the great white way well with songs from an endless array of popular shows including: Unusual Way from Nine, Joanna from Sweeney Todd, Circle Of Life from The Lion King, The Colors Of My Life from Barnum and Song On the Sand from La Cage aux Folles. His popular medley of tunes from Jerry Herman's Mack and Mabel is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The impressive list goes on – and on. And, so does Chris Barrett who makes it feel as though you're in his parlor.

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Familiar faces from cabaret and Broadway frequently drop in. Beloved stars like cabaret legends Marilyn Maye, Daryl Sherman, KT Sullivan and Julie Wilson as well as entertainment luminaries from around town pop in for supper and to savor the songs of Chris Barrett. It's no secret that he attracts a lively, tasteful crowd that basks in the glow he exudes from behind the piano. He also has something rarely found in a singer/pianist these days – humility. He is not there to stand on the piano bench or cry out loud for histrionic attention. The man is a consummate piano room entertainer who can create a pin-dropper mood or have half the room singing along with a familiar evergreen like Irving Berlin's How Deep Is the Ocean?  And, it all happens with two shows Mondays through Wednesdays at 8:00 and 10:00.

And,  just a bit about La Rivista. This has been a popular favorite for years on Restaurant Row and with good reason. It's very easy to get hooked on the food at La Rivista as it simply has - - the best Italian food in the Theatre District. It's that simple. The cuisine is authentic Italian and carefully prepared and served. Just a sample of some great menu treats include delicacies like Ravioli all Salivia (goat cheese ravioli with cream and sage,) Garganelli Araganelli alla Romana (garganelli with prosciutto, cream and peas, Timballo di zitti con Melanzane (penne with eggplant in a dome of zucchini,) penne All'Ortlana (penna with brocolli, eggplant, zuchinni and mushrooms and Risoto ai Porcini (Italian arborio with wild porcini mushrooms.) And, they serve the usual Italian favorites including a delicious meatball and spaghetti dish that's hard to resist. Mostly, in the food department, with such a magnificent cuisine, it's easy to get hooked on La Rivista.

And, more than that, it's even easier to get hooked on Christ Barrett. He's there Mondays through Wednesdays with shows at 8:00pm and 10:00pm. Follow the crowds. Savor the food and the great entertainment. And, there's no cover and no minimum. Go see what the fuss is all about as Chris Barrett brings back a piece of olde New York and that favorite song  - when it's needed most.

La Rivista is located on Restaurant Row at 313 West 46th street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues.)
For more information: (212) 245 1707 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.