54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, July 27,2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Willy Falk
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

How does Scott Siegel do it? The 46th edition of the now twice-monthly series 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits was as lively and vibrant as his first few. There appears to be a never-ending supply of great Broadway songs that can be performed by Siegel’s cast of Broadway, cabaret, and opera stars. He also makes the effort to search out what he refers to as rising stars who can do justice to these great show tunes. What makes this show so special (it is SRO for every performance) is that the vocalists don’t just sing the songs, they perform them as if they were actually in the show in which they originally appeared.


Siegel has the uncanny ability to match singer to song perfectly. As always, he introduces every number with an interesting, often amusing comment about it or the show it was in. Pianist Ron Abel’s accompaniment was just right for each of the vocalists’ style and voice, and his solos invariably brought applause from the audience.

Willy Falk (pictured) opened the show with a dramatic “Make Someone Happy.” He would return to perform a very emotive “Close Every Door,” a number he never got to sing on stage as an understudy for the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Morgan Weed had the appropriate look and demeanor for “There Are Worse Things I Can Do” (Grease). Martin Vidnovic brought his big voice and wonderful acting skill to “What Kind of Fool Am I ?

” and his performance of “September Song” transformed it into a mini-drama.

Opera star John Easterlin thrilled the crowd twice singing, unplugged, “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” and  “From This Day On,” finishing each spectacularly by holding the final note. The Drinkwater Twins, Matt and John, worked smoothly together in their hilarious duet of “Agony” (Into the Woods). The always marvelous Douglas Ladnier’s more dramatic than swinging performance of “Begin the Beguine” started slowly and built in intensity; it’s as great a performance of the song as I have heard.

I loved the way Clara Regula very movingly and dramatically performed “On My Own.” Victoria Kemp made her cabaret debut showing off her soprano by ending “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” on a thrilling high note. Ladnier ended this show, as he has previously, with Siegel’s favorite song, “The Impossible Dream.”

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.