Harvey Granat, a businessman turned cabaret singer in the late 1980s, said he first performed at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck a few years ago after knowing Rabbi Robert Widom for many more.
Now he, along with his daughter Cheryl Segall, will be singing there on Tuesday for the fourth time – marking a countdown to Granat’s 300th performance, since he hosted his 275th show last Sunday.
“I always wanted to sing and then business got in the way,” Granat, who has lived in the Great Neck area for more than 30 years, said in an interview.
“I was in finance,” Granat said later. “We still have a boutique investment banking firm where we work with companies who are interested in either selling the company or buying a company or raising capital and we are the advisers who make that happen.”
Granat said his turn to cabaret singing could be linked to Michael Moriarty, an actor and pianist who had also chaired the board of a theater company. One day Moriarty asked him to sing as he sat down to play piano, Granat said.
“The long story short is he’s the one that got me started,” Granat said.
Since making the turn to cabaret singing, thanks in part to a string of connections, Granat has performed in numerous clubs, resorts, venues and private functions.
He said he has drawn influence from the Gershwins and the partnership between Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, particularly for the emotional resonance in their songs.
“They get to me emotionally,” Granat said.
In the case of the Tuesday performance, Granat and Segall will channel the works of Frank Sinatra and Carly Simon. Granat said during the performance, to be 90 minutes long, listeners could expect “some of the most beautiful songs and the stories behind those songs,” as well as “the influence that Sinatra had on Carly Simon.”
“I want the audience to leave knowing something they haven’t known before,” Granat said, noting he tends to do a lot of research on artists before each performance.
He characterized Sinatra as one of the “great singers” of his time for being able to bring a story to life on stage through song.
“They interpret the lyric so that you’re watching and listening to a story being told,” Granat said. “I particularly feel very strongly about the men and women who wrote the lyrics to these great songs. I consider them the poets of our country.”
“And I feel it’s my obligation and my joy to understand that lyric before I perform it so I’m a storyteller,” Granat added.
Admission is free. Call 516-482-5701 for further information.
Temple Emanuel of Great Neck is located at 150 Hicks Lane.