Michael Feinstein

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 Michael Feinstein

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, December 22, 2015

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Michael-Feinstein-Happy-Holidays-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Somewhere, bubbling deep below Feinstein’s/54 Below, there must be a hidden Fountain of Youth.  It has to explain Michael Feinstein’s own continuing energy, sparkle, easy humor and especially the quality of his singing as – in his 30th year performing in New York – he celebrated the holiday season with a warm-spirited engagement, his first since his name went on the club.

The show, a smartly paced 90 minutes, was packed with standards, beginning with an old-timey Broadway-themed medley that included “There’s a Broken Heart for Every Light on Broadway,” “On Broadway,” “Broadway Melody,” “Broadway Rhythm” and an amusing parody of “(Theme from) New York, New York,” all backed by the fine combo of Tedd Firth at the piano, Sean Smith on bass and Mark McLean on drums. 

Feinstein took to the piano with a Jerry Herman piece, “To Be Alone with You” (Ben Franklin in Paris) followed by the Schwartz and Dietz classic “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan” and a lively “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Further highlights included a warm performance of “You and Me (We Wanted It All)” and “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love,” both by the team of Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen; and (back at the piano) “Diff’rent” and “You Know How I Feel About You,” followed by an exuberant romp by all on “Hooray for Hollywood.”  Firth provided a piano solo of  “Gotta Lotta Livin’ to Do.”

A change of mood came with a sweet, moving performance of “Fifty Percent,” written by Billy Goldenberg and the Bergmans for Ballroom – followed by his salute to the season with performances of “Heavenly Peace” and “White Christmas” with the audience joining in on the latter. Then it was back to popular music with the finale, “Just One of Those Things” – to standing cheers.

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Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.