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FRANC D'AMBROSIO
BROADWAY.COM/THE INSIDER
By: Ken Mendelbaum
Franc D'Ambrosio's more-than-six-year reign as Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera on tour and in San Francisco apparently allows him the title of the longest-running of all Phantoms. D'Ambrosio played Al Pacino's opera-singing son in The Godfather III, and was Henrik in the Los Angeles staging of A Little Night Music that starred John McMartin, Lois Nettleton, and Glynis Johns. More recently, D'Ambrosio had the lead in the U.S. national tour of Barry Manilow's Copacabana.

D'Ambrosio is currently on a seventy-six-city concert tour, and his first solo CD is structured like a concert. After a Broadway standard ("Almost Like Being in Love") as opener, the singer does a pair of old-Broadway songs, "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," with D'Ambrosio's florid style well-suited to such material. Then there's a nod to his film, with the love theme from Godfather III, and a lovely "Not While I'm Around."

That's followed by the centerpiece of the program, a nine-song medley from Bob Fosse musicals, highlighted by a stirring "Corner of the Sky." D'Ambrosio then shifts to contemporary Broadway, with a belty "This Is the Moment," a pretty "Bring Him Home," and two salutes to his stage roles, "Who Needs to Dream?" (Copacabana) and a handsome "Music of the Night." For bonus tracks, there are "Bring Him Home" in French, and "What Kind of Fool Am I?," the latter a song D'Ambrosio performed on NBC's recent Brian Boitano's Skating Spectacular.

D'Ambrosio's distinctive high baritone/tenor mix makes this an appealing recital.