He sure has come a long way — Seth Sikes performed his third sold-out performance at 54 Below on Thursday, April 16, aptly titled “Seth Sikes is Still Singing Judy Garland.” Sikes kicked off the evening with a medley of “Lucky Day,” “I Got Rhythm,” and “Everybody Sing” before launching into a cascade of Garland’s most celebrated songs. Backed by a seven-piece band led by Gary Adler, he also recounted his early days in Paris, Texas, where his love of the “Summer Stock” star began.
He was “discovered,” it turns out, by his Grandmother Ninny, who always encouraged him to sing. This led to Sikes’ eventual move to New York, where he went on to work as an assistant director on Broadway. Through all this, Sikes kept being drawn back to singing Garland –– especially around the piano.
It all may sound cliché, but his performance leaves no doubt that his love of the legendary singer is genuine. And the energy he puts into his songs is contagious.
Sikes picked up a trumpet at one point for a rendition of “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” and was even joined for a couple of songs by Nellie McKay, whose show followed his that evening at 54 Below.
A particular highlight was Sikes’ cover of “It’s All For You,” written by John Meyer for Garland late in her career. Meyer, who was on hand for the show, was among the many who gave Sikes a standing ovation at the show’s close.