By Sandi Durell


The ever charming Conductor of the New York Pops, Steven Reineke, was host to an evening filled with remarkable Broadway talent at Feinstein’s/54 Below on September 19 to benefit their popular PopsEd Program (event chairs Hillary and Bill Weldon).


When two lightening bolts of talent collide, sparks fly and the heat rises. An so it was, with Montego Glover (Les Miz, It Shoulda Been You, Memphis) taking the stage to present the first of two mini-revues, hers featuring songs from the various shows in which she starred and more. She opened with “I Love’s You Porgy” (Porgy & Bess) showing off her very legit soprano followed by a loose and easy swing and scatin’ “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” merging into Fantine’s (the role she played in Les Miz) “I Dreamed a Dream,” upping the emotional impact.  She turned bluesy-hot with a Memphis Beale Street song/dance, followed by the poignant “Colored Woman” from that show.


After a rousing live auction, and heartfelt and uplifting sentiment offered by PopsEd first Honoree Principal Patricia Cooper (PS 175 Queens), the second bolt of talent took the stage; Tony Yazbeck (Finding Neverland, On The Town) opening with an excited “Something’s Comin’ (West Side Story) followed by a charming “Lucky To Be Me.” Married after three days after opening in On The Town, Yazbeck sang a personal “It Had To Be You” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay” to his wife sitting in the audience. He had an unique and dramatic take on “Change Partners “/”Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and wound up “Finishing the Hat” (Sunday in the Park With George), which he used to sing in the shower.   The song that made him cry as a youngster was an emotional “Both Sides Now.” The highlight came when he tapped/sang “All I Need Is The Girl” (Gypsy).



The big finale was a showstopper as Montego and Tony gave the audience the music that stirs the soul, “Feelin’ Good,” soaring together to a standing ovation.


Accompanying Ms. Glover was Mat Eisenstein on piano, Mark Verdino on bass and Dan Weiner on drums. Accompanying Mr. Yazbeck was Jerone Korman on piano, Tom Hubbard on bass and Rich Rosenzweig on drums.


A happy, heartfelt night!


Photos: Maryann Lopinto

Video: Magda Katz


Join the New York Pops for the opening of its 34th Season The Musical World of Lerner and Loewe featuring Colin Donnell, Nathan Gunn & Laura Osnes on Friday October 14 at 8 pm