A heavenly treasure trove of Broadway show tunes performed by experts.
By Joel Benjamin
The whirlwind known as Scott Siegel is making inroads at Feinstein’s/54 Below with his series 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hit Songs featuring the numbers voted the most popular, performed by the kind of singers only Siegel can assemble. There were no surprises—nothing from a rock musical or Hamilton—but each song was an event performed by some of the fiercest singers around on October 3rd.
William Michals’ ardent and solid interpretations of several baritone gems were particularly moving in a room this size. The vibrations of his voice were palpable. His two Rodgers and Hammerstein numbers, “This Nearly Was Mine” (South Pacific) and “Soliloquy” (aka “My Boy Bill”) (Carousel) were exemplary, particularly the former which he turned into an aria of pain. His “Impossible Dream” (Mitch Leigh/Joe Darion – Man of La Mancha) was exceptional.
Brian Charles Rooney’s ardent, bright tenor was put to good use on “Maria” (Bernstein/ Sondheim – West Side Story) and “Music of the Night” (Lloyd Webber/Hart – Phantom of the Opera), his soft falsetto notes floating beautifully above music director, Ross Patterson’s piano accompaniment. His “Bring Him Home” (Boublil/Schönberg) from Les Miz was like a prayer—sweet and touching.
Maxine Linehan’s “Sound of Music” had a wonderful combination of strong pop singing à la Eydie Gormé with a wisp of operatic vibrato. Her “I Dreamed a Dream” (Les Miz) built to an aching climax. However, her “Being Alive” (Sondheim – Company) proved her to be a truly special singer with a multi-layered voice.
Somehow Nancy Anderson found all the innocent poignancy in Rodger and Hart’s “Ten Cents a Dance” from Simple Simon and Rodger and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You” (Carousel).
If Jeannette Bayardelle’s “Stormy Weather” (Arlen/Koehler) from The Cotton Club Revue of 1933 started the air vibrating, her “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (Krieger/Eyen) from Dreamgirls detonated explosions that could probably be felt in California. This is a fine actress with a great voice.
For Broadway aficionados this was heaven, a not all-inclusive heaven, but wonderful, nevertheless.
The next chapter of 54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hit Songs will on January 2nd, 2016 at 7:00pm.
54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hit Songs (October 3rd, 2015)
254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue
New York, NY
Reservations and information: call 646-476-3551 or visit www.Feinstein’s/54below.com