54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, November 10, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Scott Siegel
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

How do you keep the music playing? The 33rd edition of Scott Siegel’s 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits answers that question by providing a monthly evening of vastly talented vocalists singing the most popular songs from more than a century of Broadway musicals. Siegel magically gathers together a different group of the very best singers from Broadway and cabaret, matching singer to song perfectly for the one-night-only performance.
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What makes the show extra special is his entertainingly informative introductory comments about each number. Music director Ross Patterson provides the appropriate accompaniment to each of the performer’s style and song.

Bob Stillman opened the show by making you really believe that “something’s coming that’s gonna be great” (“Something’s Coming”). The always pleasing Michael Winther followed with another selection from West Side Story, “Maria,” and would return for a delightful “Almost Like Being in Love.” Siegel introduced Stephanie D’Abruzzo’s performance of “On the Street Where You Live” by describing it as the original stalking song. Cooper Grodin’s acting ability and interesting facial expressions made me remember why “Once Upon a Time” from the failed show All American is a favorite of mine. Aaron Ramey brought back memories of John Raitt by performing “Hey There” unplugged as Raitt did in The Pajama Game. Ramey began his second number, “Being Alive,” dramatically singing softly and then building to an explosive finish. Nicole Henry rocked the house with her “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine” and “I Am Changing.” She thrilled the SRO crowd by reaching the heights without screeching. A microphone is superfluous when operatic tenor John Easterlin sings. An interesting story about his meeting composer Robert Wright preceded his performance of Wright and George Forrest’s “Stranger in Paradise.” He would return next to closing to bring back the operetta era on Broadway with “Some Day.” Stillman closed this fast paced, highly entertaining show with a dramatic and very moving “Bring Him Home,” that built to a spectacular finish.
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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.