John Gary is alive and singing well. As he himself pointed out at Anton's 1201 Club Wednesday night, that may come as a surprise to many people who've lost track of his career now that television isn't nearly as hospitable to his brand of middle-of-the-road pop as it was when he first started recording in the early '60s.
Nowadays Gary is more apt to be doing one-nighters or touring in a Broadway show, and to judge by last night's performance, doing so with considerable ease, talent and charm. His handsome tenor, often graced by a subtle Celtic lilt, was best displayed on a medley of show tunes from "Camelot" and "Oklahoma!," and though some of his pop material is sorely dated or overworked, his genial and sometimes affecting performances of Spanish and Irish folk songs offered more than a little compensation.
Thanks to his disarming wit and accommodating spirit, Gary is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. Nearly everyone in the club Wednesday night seemed to be celebrating an anniversary or a birthday, including the woman who runs the sound system, and Gary eventually acknowledged or serenaded them all.
The engagement runs through Sunday.