by: Sandi Durell
Is a trapeze part of a Tovah world? Sure, ‘put an old bird on a trapeze upside down and it engenders hope in everyone’ – says the ageless Ms. Feldshuh in her humor-filled, poignant life story at 54 Below as she relates stories about her amazing role on Broadway as Berthe in “Pippin.”
Slim, slight and eternally youthful, powerhouse Tovah is like a chameleon morphing through an emotional rainbow of colors that change from happy, grateful, sad and funny – – family being the most important of life’s necessities. She proudly speaks of, and introduces, her children Brandon and Amanda and joyfully relates the experience of meeting the young, good looking lawyer who came backstage in 1976 while she was playing the role of a boy in Yentl, and soon scribbling on her arm at the Kennedy Center “marry me.”
It all comes together in a well-constructed show, brilliantly directed by Jeff Harnar, accompanied by musical directorJames Bassi on piano, that includes “I’m Flying,” “When I Was a Boy,” “New Worlds,” – her exquisite dramatic acting chops coming into play as she transforms into characters (using minor costume pieces) from Grandma Ada whose advice to Tovah when she announced she wanted to be an actress was “ don’t show them more than your ankles . . . “ or as WYOY Radio’s Sylvia Chronic – Kaddish and Coffee, 24 Hours of Depression – Dial 666 Suffer! And she’s quite adorable and touching as the dems and dos “Joe” (from Craig Carnelia’s Working).
With a beret, cigarette and French accent, Ray Jessel’s “Mon Amour” presented a series of laughs as a list of lyrics from Camembert to Escargot, Satre to Sinatra.
Tovah’s encore is a poignant message for all “You Make Me (Us) Feel So Young.” Thanks Tovah! To prove a point, she’s off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in March and has just joined the cast of “The Walking Dead” on the TV series.
www.54Below.com 254 West 54 Street (Cellar) – February 19, 20, 21, 7pm