54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, July 21, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Maxine Linehan

The 29th edition of Scott Siegel’s monthly series, 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits, featured an extraordinary cast of marvelous vocalists, made up of seasoned cabaret performers and very talented rising stars. Siegel matches the style of the singer to the song that each one performs.
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This edition even featured a show-stopping tap dance. As is always the case, Siegel’s introduction to each number entertainingly gives the context of the song in the Broadway show it was drawn from. Music director Ross Patterson deftly matches his work on piano to the singer and song.

The beautiful Maxine Linehan (pictured) opened the show appropriately with “The Sound of Music.” She would return with an intensely moving “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” Brian Charles Ronney’s operatic voice thrilled with “Deep in My Heart.” He would later use a very different voice for his heartfelt “Corner of the Sky.” His facial expressions and booming sound for “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” had us thinking we were at a revival meeting.
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Laura D’Andre’s beautiful sound worked magically on “As Long As He Needs Me” and “I Dreamed a Dream.” For a change of musical pace, Christopher J. Essex did a Johnny Cash-type performance of “Sixteen Tons” while accompanying himself on guitar. Stephanie Bacastow brought back memories of Barbara Cook with her delightful performance of “Vanilla Ice Cream,” which Cook introduced in She Loves Me. Emma Maxwell began “But the World Goes ‘Round” softly, and slowly built to an explosive climax. Rick Faugno displayed an excellent voice on “I Gotta Be Me,” then, next to closing, stopped the show with a truly amazing song-and-tap-dance number of “Steppin’ Out”/”Putting on the Ritz” that included a split. Linehan returned to close this vastly entertaining show with her emotive “People.”

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.