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Evan Tyrone Martin On Center Stage 
Multitalented entertainer exhibits the vocal essence of the legendary Nat King Cole in a Christmas tribute 
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   EVAN Tyrone Martin is by no means a stranger to the spotlight and center stage. The multiple Jeff Award-nominee has established himself in various theater productions, and now he’s in the midst of a national tour, headlining a holiday tribute show, “An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas,” which makes a stop at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire on December 18.
   Martin, a Cleveland native who moved to Chicago years ago, has become a favorite among theatergoers in the area who have become acquainted with him during his performances in shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony BennettKiss of the Spider WomanDreamgirlsFar From Heaven and Side Show, all of which yielded him award nominations.
   The golden-throated crooner who captures Cole’s vocal style came by his love for Cole and his music early, having been introduced to Cole’s dulcet tones by his grandmother when he was a child. His reverence for the singer grew, and Martin is quick to point out that the Christmas show is not one where he imitates Cole but rather is a presentation of the trailblazing singer’s music that, Martin says, displays his own appreciation for Cole’s music and his persona. 

   Naturally, “An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas” relies in part on tunes from Cole’s original 1961 Christmas album and his internationally famous version of “The Christmas Song.” But in an effort to further please audiences, Martin also includes some of Cole’s biggest hits such as “Smile,” “Route 66,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “L-O-V-E,” “Unforgettable” and “Mona Lisa.”
   A graduate of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, Martin is not only a fan of the music but a student of the legend himself, and during the show, he shares tidbits of information about Cole and his career––a career that included 28 studio albums, more than 150 singles that made Billboard’s charts and a weekly musical variety TV show that premiered in November 1956, making Cole the first major black performer to host a network variety series.
   Walking in the footsteps of one of the most renowned singers of all time would seem to generate incredible pressure for a young entertainer who’s confident enough to step into these deep musical waters. Not for Martin. In the end, he says, the only pressure he feels is “to not do any damage to [Cole’s] music.”
   Based on the observations of multiple reviewers and fans alike, Cole’s music is in good hands.
––Walter Leavy
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In an "Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas," Martin's only concern is "to not do any damage to [Cole's] music."
Evan Tyrone Martin in "An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas."
For more information and tickets to “An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas,” go to www.marriotttheatre.com.