Since the debut of his very first recording, One of the Ones, it has become a bit of tradition that whenever Tony Award-winning actor and singer/songwriter, Levi Kreis, releases a new musical project, we sit down and have a chat to discuss it. And, true to form, a few weeks back we hopped on a call to do just that as we settled into a good long catch up and a talk about Broadway at the Keys, Levi’s latest musical outing in which he takes on an array of Broadway classics from some of the Great White Way’s most memorable shows.
In the spirit of full disclosure, however, technology was not our friend during the last interview, in that when I went to review the recording of the interview, I realized that the magic that was our conversation had been garbled by what I can only describe as robotic goblins. This turn of events would not be quite so humorous but for the fact that it is not the first time that one of my interviews with Levi has been muddled by circumstance. As in the past, Levi was the best sport about it when I texted him to tell him what happened.
Levi Kreis performs “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd
In any case, rather than put my friend through the standard interview routine again, I just decided that I was going to tell you all the reasons why his latest project is so notable, which was really the sole purpose of the interview to begin with. As I mentioned above, I’ve been listening to Levi’s music since his debut album — a raw, unfiltered emotional collection so personal that it had a profound effect upon me and still remains one of my favorite recordings by a male vocalist to this day. Since that time, I’ve seen Levi on Broadway, marveled at his every new collection and the plucky approach that he took to each, watched him grow as an artist and even had occasion to work with him. It is against this background then that I hail Levi’s latest effort, Broadway at the Keys, as one of the brightest spots on his musical journey since his debut more than a decade ago.
Perhaps, what most makes Broadway at the Keys stand apart from Levi’s most recent recordings, is its pure simplicity. He describes the album as a kind of getting back to basics, but I would go even further and call it a return to a format in which his gift truly shines. On this recording, there are no distractions — no extraneous instrumentation and no background singers or duets. From start to finish, it’s just the dulcet tones of Levi’s soulful voice, a piano and 13 great vehicles to showcase the many facets of the singer’s talents.
Whether emoting on better known tunes from Broadway classics like Victor/Victoria (“Living in the Shadows”), Pippin’ (“Corner of the Sky”) and The Rothschilds (“In My Own Lifetime”); getting bluesy on tracks like “Kansas City Blues” from Smoky Joe’s Café and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” from Million Dollar Quartet; or turning signature songs from more recent Broadway hits like Beautiful (“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”) and Beaches (“The Wind Beneath my Wings”) into his own personal anthems, Broadway at the Keys is not your typical, by the numbers, collection of showtunes, regurgitated as originally heard on the stage. Instead it is Levi Kreis at his most intimate –riffing, soaring and sharing his take on this beloved collection of songs. And, for the record, Broadway has never sounded better.
In addition to checking out the new recording, catch Levi on tour. Though it has already officially kicked off, you can still catch Levi’s Broadway at the Keys tour in New York, San Diego, and Los Angeles as well as other cities around the country.
For more details about Levi’s tour and the new album, click here.