Michael Feinstein is Home!





By: Sandi Durell


“Good evening people of impeccable taste,” says the ever-boyish, trim and slim Michael Feinstein as he debuts a new show at his namesake Feinstein’s/54 Below thru December 30th.


There’s no doubt he’s more passionate than ever as he brings new meaning to just about every song he touches. Whether it’s a tribute to the great white way, an homage to Broadway’s supper club – where tried and true tunes like “On Broadway” to “Broadway Rhythm” to “ Lullaby of Broadway” segue into humorous parody when it comes to “New York, New York” (where the jokes flow . . . he’s got a million of ‘em).


Just to think that it’s been thirty years since the now Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, who started playing and singing in piano bars, beginning at the Algonquin, is difficult to fathom. This smooth, velvet-voiced crooner is a powerhouse of emotions especially on the Bergmans’ “Fifty Percent” (from Ballroom) where the drama climbed to extreme heights.


A story about Liza and Peter Allen, who collaborated with Carole Bayer Sager, produced a tearful (for MF and the audience) rendering of “You and Me (We Wanted It All)” and “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love” – a very personal and complicated story about their marriage and relationship and the intertwining connection that Feinstein had with Liza via his long relationship with Ira Gershwin (Godfather to Liza).


In between the delicious array of songs, he’s quick with the jokes and should he ever decide it’s time to try something new, standup comedy could be a big success for Mr. Feinstein in launching a second career!

LUCAS DEBARD and MICHAEL FEINSTEIN backstage at Feinstein's-54 Below

Lucas DeBard, Michael Feinstein


Still very much involved with his Indiana roots, is the annual High School competition he sponsors for his Great American Songbook Foundation to find the newest young Ambassador. The 2016 winner Lucas DeBard blew everyone away with “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” Seems this young man has learned a lot from his mentor in the fun department whipping out his cell phone mid-song to send a tweet with “lots of hashtags on the bottom.”


Backed by his fine musicians led by Tedd Firth on piano, Sean Smith on bass and Mark McLean on drums this is probably the pinnacle point of Michael Feinstein’s career, at this moment in time, as he reaches higher and higher with greater vocal expertise than ever before. Closing with “Peace, Heavenly Peace” and “White Christmas” rang in the holiday spirit.


To sum it up . . . the man’s a genius. And he’s also correct . . . he’s impeccable!


Michael Feinstein – thru December 30thwww.Feinstein’s/54Below.com 254 West 54 St. (cellar) New York City


*Photos: Courtesy of Feinstein’s/54Below

NORM LEWIS and MICHAEL FEINSTEIN backstage at Feinstein's-54 Below

With Norm Lewis (whose 9:30 pm show follows Michael Feinstein)