54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, August 25 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Klea Blackhurst

The 30th edition of Scott Siegel’s monthly series, 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits, was as fresh as the very first. Happily there is no end to the supply of great songs from Broadway musicals, and this series should continue for years to come. As usual, Siegel put together a stellar cast of extraordinary singers combining stage, cabaret, and even opera stars with very talented rising stars. He has the remarkable ability to match the singer’s sound and style to the song. Music director Tedd Firth was equally adept at matching his piano work to singer and song.

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Siegel’s brief introductory comments were entertaining, informative, and often quite funny.

Klea Blackhurst (pictured) opened with “Before the Parade Passes By” in a voice reminiscent of Ethel Merman’s in her stint as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! Opera star John Easterlin displayed his spectacular tenor, unplugged (no microphone), with his performance of “Almost Like Being in Love.” He would return, next to closing,  to thrill with “This Is My Beloved” (again, unplugged).

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Lianne M. Dobbs dramatically covered two songs associated with Barbra Streisand: “The Music That Makes Me Dance” and “He (She) Touched Me.” Aaron Ramey reprised a song he performed in The Bridges of Madison County, “It All Fades Away.” He returned for a moving performance of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” including the seldom-heard verse. The Broadway By the Year Chorus, made up of young performers, sang “What I Did for Love.” Philippa Lynas stepped out of the chorus for “Whatever Happened to My Heart,” ending with an operatic flourish. Two other rising stars, Nick Manna and Hannah Mount, also stepped out of the chorus to admirably sing “Who’d I Be” and “On My Own,” respectively. Lisa Howard’s emotionally draining “Come Rain or Come Shine” was enhanced by Firth’s piano solo. Blackhurst returned for a rousing “I Am What I Am.” Howard and the Broadway By the Year chorus closed this very entertaining show with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

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.