Singing along and swaying to the hit sounds of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers, northeast Queens residents listened to a special musical performance by Tom Smith yesterday at the Douglaston-Little Neck Library.
"This was incredible, a real trip back in time," said Bayside's Roz Kleinman, who trooped all the way out to Douglaston to hear the master vocalist perform. "It really took me back to the days of my youth."
Smith's "Broadway and Nightclub Songs of New York" provided an extensive lineup of composers, theatrical icons and nightclub performers who shaped the musical landscape of the 20th century's golden age of American theater.
"Most people tend to overlook the fact that Broadway was the factory [that] produced most of the hit songs that really made the careers of some of the more famous nightclub performers like Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin," said Smith, who is the leader of the Tom Smith Big Band.
The singer said he has been performing for nearly 40 years and revealed that he still gets excited every time the opportunity comes along to perform classic hits such as "The Lady is a Tramp" and Irving Berlin's iconic "God Bless America."
"I never get sick of these songs," he said. "They're like little three-act plays -brilliantly crafted. I think people will always love these songs because they're so well-written and all around beautiful."
And Smith isn't the only one who enjoys the "smooth sounds" of legendary composers like Rodgers and Hammerstein.
"I'm really just so glad I came out today - this was marvelous and [Smith] was wonderful," said Ellen Donovan of Douglaston.
But for Smith, the pleasure was all his.
"It's a lot of fun and not just because I get to perform, but also because my show walks through the history of big band music and jazz, so the audience gets to learn while being entertained," he said.
For those who missed Smith's performance on Tuesday, he'll be playing again at the Queens Public Library in Middle Village, located on 72-31 Metropolitan Ave. on June 20. For more information, visit the library's website.