54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 29, 2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Maxine Linehan

For the 50th edition of his monthly 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Scott Siegel brought 13 very talented vocalists to the stage, each singing only one number, to celebrate this milestone event. Each performed a song that matched his or her voice and acting ability. They also paid a moving tribute to Siegel for providing the showcase for them in this and the many other shows that he has produced and hosted over the past 20 years.

As always, Siegel’s introductory comments to each song are an important factor in why this show is sold out each month. His long-time music director Ross Patterson accompanied each performer appropriately for their sound and style.

As this was the night before the Jewish New Year was to begin, Siegel got a big laugh , before  he show actually began by asking the members of the audience to lift their glasses while he chanted the Hebrew blessing for wine. Ben Jones captured the spirit of the evening by booming his opening number, “This Is the Moment.” Michael Winther followed with a very dramatic “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Mia Gerachis began “Maybe This Time” softly but built to a big finish. Willie Falk performed “Why, God, Why” dramatically and kinetically as he had when he introduced it 28 years ago in the original cast of Miss Saigon. Maxine Linehan’s (pictured) beautiful sound and wonderful acting ability made her performance of “With One Look” memorable.

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Brazilian vocalist Pedro Coppeti acted the part of Javert (Les Misérables) for his thrilling “Stars.” Jennie Lee Stern brought the show up to the present by dramatically performing the angry song “Burn” that Alexander Hamilton’s wife sings in Hamilton. Emily Iaquinta and Jeanine Bruen nicely performed as if they were attached at the hip as Siamese twins “I Will Never Leave You” (Side Show). Brian Charles Rooney’s ultra-dramatic “Pity the Child” (Chess) also included an excellent piano solo by Patterson. Danny Gardner stopped the show with his truly amazing song-and-dance number a la Gene Kelly, “Singing in the Rain.” The last two performers Edie Korbich and John Easterlin thrilled by performing their songs as they were originally done on the Broadway stage with no microphone; Korbich with “There but for You Go I” and Metropolitan Opera star Easterlin holding the final note of “Without a Song” while the crowd cheered. The show’s encore had the Broadway By the Year Chorus singing “Climb Every Mountain.”

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.