Michael Feinstein: Great American Crooners

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Michael Feinstein

Great American Crooners

Appel Room, NYC, May 15, 2019

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Michael Feinstein
Photo: Gilles Toucas

Sunset in Manhattan: Central Park slowly darkening, as seen in the east through the two-story picture window of Columbus Circle’s Appel Room. The main attraction, however, was inside the packed auditorium as Michael Feinstein entered to front a 17-piece orchestra and host a tribute to the songs of the Great American Crooners.

The numbers were classics, Feinstein leading off—in a voice and style that seems never to age —with “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “Learn to Croon,” “Isn’t It Romantic” and “The More I See You.” As he sang, pianist Tedd Firth took over as leader of the orchestra, freeing Feinstein to move to center stage to perform “Soft Lights and Sweet Music” and “It Had to Be You.” 

Feinstein has always nurtured young artists, and this evening proved no exception as he welcomed the first of his guests, Zach Adkins, who performed “She Loves Me” and “Embraceable You.” They were joined in short order by a second young guest, Milton Suggs, who performed the romantic numbers, “As Long as I Live” and “Dedicated to You.”

Still a third young guest was Nick Ziobro, who brought upbeat performances of “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” “Shall We Dance,” “This Guy’s in Love with You” and, in duet with Feinstein, “My Baby Just Cares for Me.”

Feinstein completed the evening with warm solos on the romantic standards, “When I Fall in Love,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Let Me Love You,” and “Let There Be Love.” For the grand finale, all four gentlemen united to sing “Without a Song” as the auditorium resounded with warm applause for the evening’s music.

Feinstein has been dubbed “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” Now in his ninth season as director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz & Popular Song series, he has been a strong force in keeping the American Songbook alive and well.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.