On Saturday, December 2, Michael Mott & Friends Fourth Annual Holiday Show launched a fabulous kick-off to the festive season with a one-night-only performance and livestream at The Green Room 42. Musical multi-hyphenate Mott – an award-winning composer, lyricist, writer, vocalist, pianist, and recording artist, whose work has garnered more than 14,000,000 streams to date – brought together a mega-talented line-up of stars from the stage, screen, and studio to perform a sensational set list of seventeen numbers that included his new arrangements and medleys of traditional Christmas favorites, his own original holiday songs, and the debut of brand-new music from his projects in development.
Each of the unique arrangements, which ran the gamut from jazz, pop, and rock stylings to classical, show tunes, and romantic ballads, highlighted Mott’s amazing versatility in composition, mood, and musicianship. Featuring richly layered orchestrations by Kim Scharnberg (Jekyll & Hyde), with additional orchestrations and musical direction by Joshua Zecher-Ross (Be More Chill), the numbers were consummately performed by Mott on piano and a top-notch six-piece band (Andrew Zinsmeister on guitar, David White on bass, Adam Wolfe on percussion, Brad Bosenbeck on violin, Sasha Ono on cello, and Emily Pecoraro on saxophone and woodwinds), shifting flawlessly from one genre to the next and masterfully resonating throughout the room.
Interspersed between the songs were Mott’s personal comments and video projections setting their context in his career and their relationship to his roster of guest singers and longtime friends – viral recording artist Matt Bloyd (who flew in from Nashville again this year to be in the show), Antonio Cipriano (Jagged Little Pill), Anne Fraser Thomas (Titanique), and Diana Huey (The Little Mermaid), back-up singers Sarah Hamaty and Lindsay Rider, and a special appearance by The Boy Band Project (Travis Nesbitt, Nic Metcalf, Christopher Brasfield, and Stanley Martin) – who, along with Mott, delivered expressive knock-out vocals that consistently brought down the house.
The show opened with Mott’s lead on a jazz-inspired mash-up of “Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride” followed by Cipriano’s smooth mid-century-style crooning in a duet with Huey on “The Left Side of the Moon/Let It Snow” that ended with a big note showcasing their impressive range and breath control. They were followed by the full-sound pop-rock vocals of Bloyd and Thomas on “Don’t Stop Dancin/Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Cipriano’s emotionally expressive ballad of lost love “Cry For You,” and Bloyd’s version of Mott’s most streamed song, “The Impossible,” which gained widespread popularity in Asia as the chosen tune for a line dance (a choice, Mott joked, that he’s not quite sure he understands!).
The Boy Band Project then took the stage to deliver sizzling hot renditions of two of their biggest hits, “Get Behind My Love” and “Jingle My Bells,” written specifically for them by Mott and recreating the sound, moves, and all the feelings of the popular guy groups of the ‘90s, with their perfect harmonies, seductive looks, and high-energy choreography. And Mott, who made a trip to Italy with his family in May, went back in October, and will be spending Christmas there, delivered a powerhouse performance of his medley arrangement of two Italian classics, “Cara Mia/Innamorata,” hitting and holding the sky-high notes that had everyone astonished and cheering. He later returned with the fast-paced upbeat pop tune “Get Up on My Feet,” in which he injected a few happy lines from “Deck the Halls” and intros of the band.
Along with the more contemporary numbers were Mott’s classical arrangements of traditional Christmas songs, with vocals that had all the richness and virtuosity of an operatic choir and an expressed goal of recording a holiday album. He led the medley of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard on High” with his soaring tenor, backed by the strong high voices of Hamaty and Rider, who were featured, along with the band, on Mott’s mash-up of “Ave Maria/O Holy Night” and provided the background voices for Thomas’s crystal-clear lead on “We Three Kings of Orient Are/O Come All Ye Faithful.”
The concert also included holiday songs Mott created for Bloyd (“Never Thought of Christmas,” a love song of longing that he delivered with emotion) and Broadway’s Laura Osnes (a mash-up of “All I Want for Christmas/Christmas, Will You Stay,” which has been performed by Pops orchestras around the country and was sung here by the ever-impressive Thomas), and selections from his theatrical pieces: “Riding Out the Storm” from The Eye of the Storm, first introduced in 2012, then released as a short musical film in 2022, with a screenplay and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, and featuring Huey; and “Emilia Runs” from The Fairy’s Tale, a story of love and sacrifice, performed by Cipriano with his signature vocal prowess and profound feeling.
For the grand finale, Mott had the company of solo artists return to the stage to join him in “Be the Song,” a message of hope delivered in harmony. The outstanding evening of music and camaraderie closed with a meet-and-greet with the cast outside the room that left everyone elated and looking forward to what’s next from Mott and his gifted collaborators. If you missed this terrific concert, you can check out upcoming dates on Michael Mott’s website, follow him on social media, and check out The Boy Band Project’s Boy Band Brunch Holiday Edition at City Winery on December 16, starting at noon, which will include their 2020 Broadway World Award-winning single “Jingle My Bells” by Mott. And you can enjoy more photos from the joyous night at The Green Room 42 here:
Running Time: Approximately 85 minutes, without intermission.
Michael Mott & Friends Fourth Annual Holiday Show played on Saturday, December 2, 2023, 7 pm, at The Green Room 42, YOTEL, 570 Tenth Avenue, 4th floor, NYC.