54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

| November 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, October 29, 2021

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Scott Siegel

As in the previous 65 editions of 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Scott Siegel (pictured) gathered a cast of stellar vocalists from the Broadway, cabaret, and opera stages to perform some of the best songs from Broadway musicals. What makes these shows special is that all the numbers are performed dramatically as though they were part of a scene form a Broadway show. Siegel introduces each song with a bit of interesting information about the show the song was taken from. Music director Ron Abel smoothly matches his piano playing to the style and sound of each performer, and his solo turns frequently drew applause.

Molly Bremer displayed her nice soprano with the opening number, “First You Dream” (Steel Pier). Emily Large evoked laughter with her performance of “Life of the Party” (Wild Party). She would return later in the show with a wonderfully dramatic and moving “Fifty Percent” (Ballroom). Gabrielle Stravelli swung “Lady Is a Tramp” (Babes in Arms), backed by a great arrangement by Abel. She would return for a wonderfully bluesy, very different “Blues in the Night” that included an excellent solo turn by Abel. The Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer song was written as the title song of a 1941 Warner Bros. film but was included in the 1943 Broadway review Star and Garter. Ben Jones sang a wonderfully dramatic “Kiss Her Now” (Dear World). The highlight of the show was opera star John Easterlin’s thrilling performance of “Almost Like Being in Love,” as it was performed originally in the 1947 Broadway production—he sang unplugged (no microphone).

The show closed with two of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most inspirational songs. Easterlin returned, displaying his marvelous operatic tenor with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”  Jones closed the show with a very different “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” done almost as a spiritual, ending the show on thrilling note that left the audience cheering.

Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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