54 Sings ABBA

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54 Sings ABBA

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, April 20, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

54 Sings ABBA celebrated the Swedish band that also appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia. It was fitting that the title song of that show would open this one, and that Catherine Charlebois would put on a stunning rendition of the song as she worked from power ballad into up-tempo beat. From there, the tempo and pulse of the show remained quick, and performers continued to unleash solid renditions of the catchy, classic songs that seem to always be part of an all-encompassing, world-wide sensation. The songs “Take a Chance on Me” and “Dancing Queen” were, of course, included. There was no shortage of talent to impress the audience.

Among all of the solid cast of performers, Becca Lee, Rachel Lind, Melissa Becker, and Emily Schultheis should be highlighted.

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Lee gave a spirited performance of “Name of the Game,” which helped get the good vibes going among the crowd.

Lind used her personality to put a spin on “Money, Money, Money,” the way the song should be sung by a confident performer. Becker’s believability in “Slipping Through My Fingers” might have been the only really emotional part of the evening, which mostly offered happy feelings. It can be hard to imagine a pop band worrying about kids, but the line, “I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness/and I have to sit down for a while,” really stuck. Even more so, the performance of “S.

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O.S.” by Schultheis really struck the right chord. She performed it well, gave it her unique twist, and brought the line, “so when you’re near me, darling can’t you hear me,” to life.

At the top of his game and on the must-hear New York pianist list was Daniel Mertzlufft, who once again showed that he is a strong MD/pianist. Assisting Mertzlufft were Elmo Zapp and Nick Brenock on guitar, and Elena Bonomo on drums. This show has already been reprised once, so I do expect that it will come around again.

When it does, you should definitely catch it.

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 StruckChris.com