54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, February 16, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Luke Hawkins

The 24th monthly edition of Scott Siegel’s 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits, as usual, had a collection of fine vocalists with varied styles, singing some of Broadway’s most popular songs, plus a few obscure but great ones. This edition added two spectacular tap-dancing numbers—“Dames” and “Cool”—by song-and-dance man Luke Hawkins (pictured).
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Siegel’s incisive and often funny introductory remarks added to the fun.
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Music director Ryan Shirar makes his work on piano blend nicely with the varied voices and styles of the vocalists.

Opera star John Easterlin thrilled by performing “Wanting You” unplugged. Marcus Lovett’s big voice made the very dramatic finish to “Stars” memorable; he shifted gears later in the show for a hilarious “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” (Book of Mormon). Oakley Boycott made me believe that she was having a nervous breakdown with her show-stopping “Model Behavior” (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), and returned to do “Is It a Crime?,” which she’d performed in a revival of Bells Are Ringing. Cooper Grodin, called in as a replacement with two hours notice, was up to the task with a Frankie Valli-ish “My Eyes Adored You” and “Night of a Thousand Stars.” Conor Ryan introduced “Johanna” (Sweeney Todd) by telling an amusing story about having to perform the song in a camp show with rain pouring down on him. Clara Regula got the SRO audience to sing along with her rousing “Cabaret.”  Easterlin returned to close the  show in spectacular fashion with an unplugged “You Are My Heart’s Desire,” sung in German.

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.