Marie’s Crisis is the atmospheric basement piano bar over at 59-Grove Street where performers, wannabes, and drunks all get together to belt showtunes en masse as if theres no “Tomorrow.” The man who keeps them all boogieing to a strict beat on Mondays and Thursdays is Jim Allen, a good sport who knows every Broadway standard (and obscurity) and quirks them up by throwing in ad libs and even banging his head against the wall at random emotional moments. For every dent in the wall, there’s been a thousand boozey singalongs to “Suddenly, Seymour.”
But Allen–who’s caressed the ivories there for 20 years–is savvy enough to launch into “Another Hundred People” from Company the second he spots me in the room (unless they’re in the middle of the entire score of Oliver!). He’ll do your favorites too–the man is never too grand to take requests–and he’ll make a complete party out of it, so all hail Jim Allen, the merry music maker who keeps the whole West Village singing. Everybody rise! Rise! Riiise!