Marieann Meringolo: Nice ‘N’ Easy: The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Marieann Meringolo

Nice ‘N’ Easy: The Songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman

Chelsea Table + Stage, NYC, February 18, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Marieann Meringolo
Photo: Gene Reed

Looking fabulous, Marieann Meringolo took the stage of Chelsea Table + Stage to pay tribute to the songwriting (and marital) team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. She began with a gentle and sensitive version of one of their best-known lyrics, “The Way We Were” (music by Marvin Hamlisch), which she was used as a recurring theme throughout the show, and blended it with the lovely “Where Do You Start?” (music by Johnny Mandel). Meringolo’s voice has matured and is now a lovely mix that suggests aged wine blended with velvet undertones; it beautifully enhances her careful exploration of the lyrics that she clearly loves. This became very clear with her mesmerizing and torchy version of the gorgeous “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” (music by Michel Legrand).

Supporting Meringolo were her ace team of music director Doyle Newmyer at the piano, Boots Maleson on bass, and Brian Woodruff on drums. Throughout the show, they followed every mood and inflection with sensitivity and gave her a strong framework to glide on. Some highlights included a Latin-infused arrangement of “The Windmills of Your Mind” (Legrand) and the bluesy “Love Makes the Changes” (Legrand), in which Newmyer had the chance to display an electric stride piano. Near the end of the show, the musicians also each had a chance to show off during the climatic “You Must Believe in Spring” (Legrand).

Meringolo simply can’t sing a lazy or dishonest lyric; this explains her attraction to the works of the Bergmans. She found the emotional power of such songs as “Pieces of Dreams (Little Girl Lost)” (Legrand) and “Fifty Percent” (music by Billy Goldenberg), which had a particularly passionate delivery. This emotional power was also found in the two selections from the film of Yentl: “Where Is It Written?” and “A Piece of Sky” (both with Legrand). This merger of artist and writers made for a marvelous evening.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."