Review and photographs by Tim Mack
Once again during this February school break, the drawbridge at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany brought dozens of kids, parents and grandparents straight to Zucchiniland. The Friday morning show with the Zucchini Brothers – Jack, Sam and Steve – was exactly what audiences have come to expect from the trio that’s been making kids’ music since the ’90s – a comical mix of harmony, silliness, improv and health advice (“If you eat too much cheese, you’ll get wobbly knees!”).
It’s hard to disappoint when you’ve got songs like “Green Teeth” and “You Are What You Eat,” and those classics were exactly what the crowd was there to hear. It was an enthusiastic group of pre-school and elementary-age fans eager to play along with the Brothers, wherever the music took them. The intermission was as exciting as the first set for a lot of the kids, who got to climb on stage and meet the stars (Sam Zucchini is a particular favorite; apparently he’s the Ricky Nelson of the group).
To bring kids back to their seats for the second set, the Brothers broke out John Sebastian’s theme from “Welcome Back, Kotter,” and followed it up with another history lesson, the All in the Family classic “Those Were the Days,” complete with Jean Stapleton screech. When the Zucchinis first put these songs in their sets a couple of decades ago, it was no doubt done with a sly wink and a nod to the parents in the audience. In 2014, it was more likely to bring a smile to the grandparents (and if the moms and dads were too young to get it, there’s always Google).
As far as the kids are concerned, a major highlight to any Zucchini Brothers show is “Wake Up, Sam”, which brought the drummer out from behind the kit and into the audience to work the room with his sticks, playing anything and anyone he can find.
And then, with the crowd ready for applause, lunch and naps, the Brothers wrapped it up and left the crowd wanting just a little bit more. Which they could have had, if they came back for the second show in the afternoon. Maybe next year…