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‘Traveling Jewbadour’

Through his upcoming cabaret-style show “Tales of the Traveling Jewbadour,” Astoria resident Gary Negbaur will celebrate the Jewish composers who are a major part of the “Great American Songbook.”
Being that his mother was a piano teacher, Negbaur, who grew up in Manhattan, said that there was no escaping music. As a child, he studied classical music, eventually also studying jazz.
He attended Harvard for his undergraduate studies, although not as a music major. After gradation Negbaur, who is also a songwriter, took a year off to pursue music and then decided to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“It just sort of developed,” Negbaur said of his career as an entertainer.
In 1994, Negbaur came out with his first CD and then spent time touring, including performing on cruise ships. Entitled “Let Me Explain,” his debut CD was all original music. He also released the album “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” of standards.
Negbaur describes his personal musical style as coming from swing, blues and ballads and being like contemporary standards. He also said that he uses a great deal of humor in his music.
Most of Negbaur’s music is inspired by everyday life and experiences. He said that although the emotion is always true, he sometimes changes the details of the events to fit the song.
Around 2000, Negbaur began writing for musical theatre. He said that throughout his travels as a singer/songwriter, people frequently asked him if he did musical theatre, saying that his music sounded like it would fit into that genre well. Negbaur decided to give it a try, first writing a one-act musical with friend John Cariani, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his work in the revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Negbaur will take the stage at The Metropolitan Room on Wednesday, October 10 and Wednesday, October 17 to perform his show “Tale of the Traveling Jewbadour,” which he described as “a songwriter’s journey to his heritage and his heart.” Along with featuring some of his original works, Negbaur will also be performing pieces by Jewish American composers, including Gershwin, Berlin and Billy Joel.
“Basically the Great American Songbook from that era is dominated by Jewish American composers. If I were to write a thesis statement it might be that the Great American Songbook for standards is a Jewish American tradition,” said Negbaur, whose wife Yvette sings some of the tunes with him. “My culture’s great contribution in many ways was sort of that musical form. So, it was nice for me to think of myself as being part of that tradition.”
Negbaur is also working on several other projects. In December, his collaboration “Wine Lovers,” a musical about a wine-tasting class, will be put on. He is also working with Tony-nominated Jerry Silverman on the musical comedy “True Beauty.”
Inspired by his 15-month-old son Max, Negbaur would also like to put together a collection of children’s music.
The performances of “Tales of the Traveling Jewbadour” will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10 and Wednesday, October 17. The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 West 22nd Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. Tickets cost $20 and there is a two-drink minimum. To make reservations, call 212-206-0440.
For more information on Negbaur, visit www.garynegbaur.com.

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