Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael: Cheek to Cheek with Fascinating Rhythms

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael

Cheek to Cheek with Fascinating Rhythms:
The Music of Berlin and George Gershwin

Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, May 16, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey Bruce for Cabaret Scenes

Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael

Remember how we used to read, in fan magazines, about the casual soirees in a star’s Hollywood home, where Judy used to get up and sing after dinner, along with a host of fellow luminaries? Well, that’s the feeling we had with the delightful Chicago duo, Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael. They invited us into their living room, she at the grand piano, he at the mic, and enchanted the sold-out audience in a relaxed, casual, New York City supper club-type engagement.

Menzie is the anchor of the show. A woman with a very funny self-deprecating wit, and a possessor of a terrific alto, her piano skills are prodigious enough where, when accompanying herself, she barely scans her sheet music. Michael, and his lovely tenor, and she have been singing together for 30 years and the easy vocal and personal camaraderie were a delight to behold, especially their superb harmonies.

Opening with a medley of “Strike Up the Band”/“Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” they hit every crowd-pleaser we knew by heart. We also had “They All Laughed,” “A Couple of Swells” and, wait for it, a Porgy and Bess medley, complete with gorgeous harmonies, that brought the house down. Heaven only knows how many songs they did in total; they could’ve (to paraphrase Judy) “sung ’em all and we’ll stay all night!” Having said that, the evening could have had a definite corny feel to it, but the beautifully constructed act seemed off-the-cuff spontaneous. Between songs, the biographical info for each writer was charming and informative.  

Their hour flew by and left us (even after a “God Bless America” finale) wanting more. I look forward to seeing them again. They are that terrific.

Jeffrey Bruce

Originally from Fresh Meadows, Queens, Jeffrey has been in nine national tours, including How to Succeed… (Finch), Camelot (Mordred) and Peter Pan (Hook). He has also had the pleasure to play leads in the entire Neil Simon catalogue. On television, he was the permanent guest host, for 21 years, on the #1 local talk show in the country Kelly & Company on WXYZ-TV, Detroit. He teaches a weekly Master Class in Drama in Boca Raton, Florida. His theater reviews are on Writing for Cabaret Scenes has enabled him to educate the public as to the superb cabaret resources that South Florida has to offer.