Levi Kreis Returns to Vallarta in 'How I Met Tony'
Gary R. Beck - Beck's Best

February 11, 2017

Levi has not been on stage here for a year and judging by the roars and applause, he was sorely missed. This multi-talented artist is not only a singer but a songwriter of very personal events starting when a youth struggling with society's demands. He is also an exemplary pianist at the top of his class. He is an accomplished actor, winning a Tony award in 2010 for Broadway work when he was the original Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet". In short, he is extraordinary and unparalleled, an essential night for all theater-goers and lovers of rare talent.

The vast percentage of the opening night show were followers, having heard him and learned that this man is a force to deal with. He performed a sold out run here last season and now we have another large dose of him to absorb. His overall production endears himself to the audience, some of whom fell in love. A man in his genre does not come along very often so whenever he is here, one visit is nowhere near enough.

At a very young age, he told his father he wanted to work in musical theater, as he had been writing songs since a youth. He was not accepted and although great forces were applied to make him like his brothers, he persisted and fought for what he wanted. Hollywood and New York gave him a large dose of ambition. His tribute to valuable Broadway tunes visited "Finding Neverland", then "Never Had a Friend Like Me" from "Aladdin", "Sweeney Todd" where he sang a beautiful "Not While I'm Around" and "Rent" an autobiographical, thought-provoking "One Song Glory". But it was the baring of his soul with the personal lyrics of "Living in the Shadows" from "Victor/Victoria" which was utmost impressive.

He has his own distinctive style and runs the notes which separate Levi from his contemporaries. Levi stated, "I see art as an opportunity to convey something deeper, something spiritual. When you touch an audience at this level, they remember it forever." At times, he uses the piano as a part of his body, seeming like everything is joined together, with the piano serving as his extension.

His becoming an adult led him to "A day of reckoning". He advanced past an asexual time and found love with a man. This development opened him to be able to free his inner demons via singing and more importantly songwriting. He is in command of his life, thoughts and dreams now.

Levi invited Paul Fracassi to the stage. Paul has had three different shows provided on this same stage. He delivered "Unchained Melody", one of his fortes since his voice can reach and hold those high notes. He declared there is no one in the world who plays the accompaniment as well as Levi. That one song made the night even more thrilling. Puerto Vallarta is so very fortunate to have such world-class entertainers in this Southside Theater District.

Levi mentioned how important the leading present day pianists were in his musical growth and then proceeded to offer Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis, with his fingers flying across the keyboard to the high keys back down to the bass. In a reference to this year's return of Bette Midler to Broadway in "Hello Dolly!", he introduced his last number ["Beaches goes to Broadway"] with "Wind Beneath My Wings". It was a remarkable end to an astounding evening of watching a star display his expertise, to be not soon forgotten.

You can catch Levi Kreis in 'How I Met Tony' at Act II Entertainment on February 11, 14, 16, 18, 21 and 23 at 7:30 pm.

Act II Entertainment STAGES complex is located at Insurgentes 300 (at the corner of Basilio Badillo & Insurgentes) 2nd Floor, Zona Romántica, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Telephone is 322.222.1512. Show info and tickets available online at Act II PV. Box Office opened daily at 11:00 am on show days with a 2nd Box Office location across the street from Garbos on Pulpito street in the Romantic zone. Email act2entertainmentproductions@gmail.com for questions or more info.

Danny Mininni wished for me to mention that The Encore Bar in Act II Entertainment features singers before and after the shows. These artists represent some of the fine local talent Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Joby Hernández, Kami Desilets, Maria Rose and Gabe Arciniega present lovely music nightly at levels suitable for conversations. Come early for some live entertainment, gratis.

For more reviews of performances in Puerto Vallarta, visit More of Beck's Best: Theater, Cabaret and More!

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