Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Micky’s Monkee Gets It Right: Sixties Pop Icon Micky Dolenz Scores at 54Below


Tonight (Friday), Tomorrow night, Micky Dolenz at 54 Below is the surprise of the season. I saw him Tuesday night. Wow.

You want good things for your childhood heroes. I knew the Monkees when they were the One Direction of the world, 1966-67, just in that nook between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper, the Monkees came on like a tsunami as the American version of the Beatles.

Now Micky is 70, Davy Jones is dead, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith sometimes tour. But you know Micky sang lead on so many hits. On Tuesday night he sang a lot of them with a hot Broadway combo at 54Below, as well as show tunes and some Broadway songs you wouldn’t expect like “Some Enchanted Everning.”

Micky still has his voice, with a solid range; he’s forgiven for a little wavering. He’s human. He also told me he was scared as hell getting up in that intimate venue and telling stories about his family, about Monkee times, about shows he’s done like “Aida” on Broadway. He looks great– certainly not 70– just an older Micky. He doesn’t play the drums, as “Micky” did on “The Monkees,” but he plays guitar and rocks out admirably.

The main thing is that Micky is so endearing, and he sells the songs with tremendous honesty. He remembers meeting John Lennon, who said, “So you’re the Monkee Man” in a Liverpool accent. (Micky does great accents.) He performs “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” with a sharp sense of updating, and takes Davy’s lead on “Daydream Believer.” He cites all the amazing writers of Monkees songs especially Carole King, and sings her little known “As We Go Along” from the failed Monkees movie “Head.” (Did you know that Jack Nicholson co-wrote the screenplay and curated the soundtrack?)

Micky’s “A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll” is already such a hit, 54Below has asked him back. Try and get in there tonight or tomorrow. Micky is such a perfectionist he’s really rehearsed and the put the time in. It shows. This is no slapdash appearance by a former pop star. He’s a serious, engaging performer. When he was in the Monkees, no one believed that Micky actually sang and played instruments. He surprised everyone. And this weekend, he does it again. Big kudos!

PS Someone tell Harvey Weinstein– Micky would be the perfect replacement or alternate for Kelsey Grammer in “Finding Neverland.” Spot on!


photo c2015 Showbiz411

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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