By Brian Scott Lipton . . .

Have you been back to your office? If so, it probably felt weird the first time – and maybe it still does. So what if you are one of Broadway and cabaret’s most celebrated performers and you’re stepping foot in your “office” for the first time in 18 months – and that office is Feinstein’s/54 Below. And instead of having to make chitchat with coworkers, you have to please an eager, well-heeled audience of over 100 people. How would you feel? What would you do?

If you are the singular sensation known as Liz Callaway, you would admit immediately to being nervous about this very special homecoming and you would make the very smart, very right move for yourself and your fans. Which means that you would do a program of “greatest hits” so you can not worry about the challenge of learning new melodies and lyrics and also not worry that your fans (who will probably love you no matter what) will be disappointed if they don’t get to hear their favorite songs.

As a result, you would earn constant appreciative applause, as well as multiple, well-earned standing ovations (including one mid-show for her remarkable rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s “Meadowlark”). Or at least, that’s how things played out on Sunday, August 8 when Callaway presented “Comin’ Round Again,” as great a cabaret show as one could ever wish for.

Not only has almost two years away done nothing to diminish Callaway’s crystalline vocals, commitment to her lyrics and her rapport with the audience – some of those qualities have even deepened since her last outing. Even more amazing is that even though Callaway has performed some of these songs for 40 years, she can sing some (if not all) of these tunes in their original key. Moreover – aided her by musical director Alex Rybeck, bassist Ritt Henn and percussionist Ron Tierno — Callaway does it with the kind of power and freshness one might expect from someone tackling these tunes for the very first time.

Out of her well-chosen set list, each fan will have his or her favorite. Callaway says she got the most requests for Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty’s yearning “Journey to the Past” (from the film Anastasia), which, unsurprisingly, was as delightful as ever. Her ability to handle the tongue-twisting Sondheim parody “Another 100 Lyrics” was simply breathtaking. A gorgeous pairing of Sondheim’s “Old Friends” and “Like It Was,” two songs from her short-lived Broadway debut Merrily We Roll Along was anything but a nostalgia trip.

Personally, I have loved Callaway’s take on Cy Coleman and Barbara Fried’s “You There in the Back Row” from the minute I first heard it decades ago and her version still makes my heart stir (as it must for every actor trying to land their big break). An inspired medley featuring part of a dozen songs featuring the word “Sing” was nothing short of joyous! And, to my mind, no one brings the same poignancy to Rupert Holmes’ ode to what-might-have-been, “The People You Never Get to Love,” as Callaway does.

Wisely (in my opinion), Callaway saved the best for last: Richard Maltby and David Shire’s magnificent ode to motherhood, “The Story Goes On,” which she introduced in the Broadway musical Baby in 1983, and which she delivered (pun intended) with the kind of force and feeling that transcends time.

Indeed, for all of us in that room, I think there was an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief that we have survived this past year-and-a-half to witness Liz Callaway coming around again – and reminding us what greatness and great music really means!

Liz Callaway: Comin’ Around Again will play Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) again at 7pm on Monday, August 9. Visit for tickets and information.