Michael Feinstein: Caught Between the Moon and New York City

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Michael Feinstein

Caught Between the Moon and New York City

Appel Room, NYC, April 11,2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Michael Feinsein
Photo: Lawrence Sumulong

The always entertaining Michael Feinstein paid tribute to Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen to celebrate what would have been Allen’s 75th birthday. The show focused on Allen’s career as a songwriter with interesting and amusing anecdotes about events in Allen’s life interspersed between numbers. Feinstein was joined by vocalists Storm Large, Eric Bergen, and the wonderful Melissa Manchester, all backed by music director Tedd Firth and the swinging American Songbook Band.

Feinstein opened with a lively “Everything Old Is New Again.” He told of Judy Garland discovering Allen in Hong Kong in 1964. Through Garland, Allen met and married her daughter, Liza Minnelli.

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After telling how Allen was the first man to dance with the Rockettes, Feinstein sang “I Could Have Been a Sailor.”

Large told of an incident when Allen was in a nightclub watching Julie Wilson perform, when a patron started talking, as an introduction to her poignant “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage” (Allen/Carol Bayer Sager). Her performance built to a big climax with the audience responding to the lyric “put your hands together” by clapping along with her.

Bergen entered wearing a sequined suit à la Allen and captured Allen’s dynamic performing style with “Not the Boy Next Door” (Allen/Dean Pitchford). He then performed the song that lead to the transition of Allen from performer to songwriter “6:30 Sunday Morning.” Feinstein joined Bergen by first doing a very funny imitation of Paul Lynde’ then the two duetted on “When I Get My Name in Lights,” which had the two dancing together.

Manchester thrilled the crowd by reprising her number one hit “Don’t Cry Out Loud” (Allen/Sager). She then sang the multi-Grammy-award winner for Allen and Olivia Newton John, “I Honestly Love You” (Allen/Jeff Barry). Manchester told the very touching story of Allen and Minnelli reuniting years after they had divorced, followed by her moving performance of “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love” (Allen/Sager).

The four vocalists came together for the closing number, the Oscar winning “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (Allen/Christopher Cross/Burt Bacharach/Sager), containing the line that Allen wrote while circling over New York during an air controller’s strike—“caught between the moon and New York City.” Their encore had the audience clapping along to “I Go to Rio” (Allen/Adrienne Anderson).

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.