54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

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54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, July 10, 2021

Reviewed By Ronald Forman

Scott Siegel

The 61st edition of Scott Siegel’s (pictured) Broadway’s Greatest Hits series at Feinstein’s/54 Below picked up right where it left off, pre-pandemic—and then some. After an absence of almost a year and a half, Siegel decided to have this show filled with crowd favorites. Almost every song performed was an 11 o’clock number that had the sold-out crowd cheering loudly at the finish. Siegel gathered a cast of very talented vocalists from Broadway, cabaret, and opera who could perform these songs with the full power that they deserve.

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What makes Siegel’s shows special is that the vocalists perform the songs as if they were performing on a Broadway stage.
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As always, Siegel introduced each number with interesting and often amusing comments. Music director Ron Abel’s dynamic work on piano was a significant part of each number performed.

Appropriately, the show opened with Lianne Marie Dobbs performing “Something’s Coming,” starting slowly and then, with the addition of the dramatic piano of Abel, building to a bigger and bigger climax. Broadway star William Michals reprised two songs he had performed on a Broadway stage—a very powerful “Some Enchanted Evening” and an ultra-dramatic “If I Can’t Love Her,” as he did it in Beauty and the Beast. Siegel informed us that the most often played jazz song, “Body and Soul,” was surprisingly, introduced in the Broadway show Three’s a Crowd; Meaghan Sands provided drama in her moving performance. Albert Nelthropp did a very well-acted “What Is It About Her” from The Wild Party, that was aided mightily by Abel’s piano accompaniment. Ali Ewoldt, the first Asian-American to star as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, displayed her lovely soprano with “I Have Dreamed,” which she performed in the 2015 revival of the The King and I. Metropolitan Opera star John Esterlin thrilled the crowd with hisunplugged (no microphone) performance of “Without a Song.” Dobbs returned to do a slowed-down, very different “Lullaby of Broadway,” that worked for me. The show closed to tumultuous applause, as Easterlin used his operatic tenor to thrill the crowd again with “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.