Marieann Meringolo: In the Spirit

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Marieann Meringolo

In the Spirit

Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, NYC, December 1, 2017

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Marieann Meringolo

Marieann Meringolo returned to Feinstein’s/54 Below for her annual holiday show, In the Spirit, a delightful way to begin the season. Her cheerful and friendly demeanor instantly put us in the holiday mood. She combines a beautiful sound with a powerful yet controlled voice. Meringolo is nicely able to mix funny stories between her musical numbers.

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The song list is a nice mix of traditional Christmas material and modern, sometimes funny, holiday songs. She is backed by an by an excellent trio featuring Boots Maleson (bass), Brian Woodruff (guitar), and and musical director Doyle Newmyer (piano), whose voice blended nicely on three duets.

Meringolo began with “Happy Holidays,” singing from the bar and continuing as she walked through the audience, shaking hands as she made her way to the stage.

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She moved gracefully on stage performing an up-tempo “My Favorite Things” that had solo turns by Maleson and Woodruff.

She belted “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” ending with her holding on to the final word “love” as the audience cheered. She joined with Newmyer for a softly beautiful “Silent Night.” Her seductive, sexy side came out with “Santa, Please Be Mine,” ending with a simulated climax. She then flirted hilariously with Newmyer, leading  into their duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Her performance including the verse of “Winter Wonderland” made that old song seem fresh. After amusingly checking the ethnicity of the audience, Meringolo performed a very funny “It’s Christmas and We’re Jewish,” followed by a moving “Channukah Prayer.” Reprising two songs from her tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman show, she performed “Nice ‘n’ Easy” and then, walking through the audience, looking at people’s faces, “That Face.

” She returned to the bar for her closing number, an enchanting new song by Kurt Wieting, “Christmas Time (It’s Time to Fall in Love).

” Her encore was “Grown-Up Christmas List,” making for a big finish.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.