Marieann Meringolo: The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Marieann Meringolo

The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 23, 2016

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

Photo: Devon Cass
Photo: Devon Cass

Somewhere along the way a lady with a spectacular voice became an artist with a spectacular voice. Marieann Meringolo’s The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman was a beautiful display of sound and meaning coming together. She described the program as “songs of life, love and hope that connect us.”  

The set list featured a number of songs with music by Michel Legrand, a composer who suits Meringolo’s voice perfectly.  For example, she turned “I Was Born in Love with You” into a moaning torch song. “A Piece of Sky” was a declaration of independence and self-assurance. Her “Love Makes the Changes” brought images of period smoke-filled saloons.  She combined “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” with the lazy earnestness she caught in “It Might Be You” (music by Dave Grusin).

She sang “The Way We Were” (Marvin Hamlisch) several times as a kind of punctuation between other songs, each time with a slightly different emphasis.

“Fifty Percent,” written with Billy Goldenberg, is about a woman so in love she is willing to compromise with only part of a woman’s attentions and love. She displayed passion and sadness at the same time.

Her encore was yet another Legrand composition, “On My Way to You,” which brought her set to a lovely, quiet end.

Her Musical Director/pianist Doyle Newmyer was very clever, somehow making Legrand sound like Debussy. He was helped by Boots Maleson on bass and Sipho Kunene on drums. Will Nunziata directed.

Marieann returns to Feinstein’s/54 Below Sept. 30 at 9:30 and OCt. 7 at 7:00.

Joel Benjamin

A native New Yorker, Joel was always fascinated by musical theater. Luckily, he was able to be a part of seven Broadway musicals before the age of 14, quitting to pursue a pre-med degree, which led no where except back to performing in the guise of directing a touring ballet troupe. Always interested in writing, he wrote a short play in high school that was actually performed, leading to a hiatus of nearly 40 years before he returned to writing as a reviewer. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has kept him in touch with world filled with brilliance.