Samantha Massell

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Samantha Massell

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

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Samantha Massell

Samantha Massell returned to Feinstein’s/54 Below to expound upon female empowerment in a musical line-up that featured songs about overcoming expectations. She also included some of the songs she knows best from her most recent performances in Rags (Charles Strouse/Stephen Schwartz), such as the all-star mash-up of “Nothing Will Hurt Us Again” and “Children of the Wind.” This became the major theme of the evening, which came together in her finale and her encore with material about being on the outside looking in from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

While I knew of Massell before the evening, she seemed to refer to Hunchback as something she was known for, at least by her audience. Regardless, her performance of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz’s “Out There” was fairly strong as she pined to “just to live one day out there!” One of the more surprising moments of the show occurred when Laura Osnes joined Massell on stage for a duet of “What Baking Can Do” (Waitress; Sara Bareilles). The two traded lines as they displayed excellent timing: “Make it soon/Make it better/though, better never lasts forever.

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Her fellow cast member from Rags, Sara Kapner, joined her to sing the title song. John Bell was the musical director and pianist, adding a little color, while Jessica Linden laid a solid beat on the drums.

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Overall, well done.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see