Breaking News: Feinstein's to Close December 31; Hunting for New Venue
Feinstein's at Loews Regency will close on December 31, 2012.
“We are excited that Feinstein’s will be moving to a new location in 2013 when the Loews Regency Hotel undergoes a major renovation. We have several new opportunities that we are considering at this time," the venue's namesake Michael Feinstein said. "It’s been an amazing 14-year run with the hotel and I am extremely proud to have helped present some of the country’s greatest entertainers. I am grateful to the hotel’s management and staff for their hard work and dedication. We look forward to entertaining New York audiences at Feinstein’s for the month of September and then our annual Holiday show in December, followed by a special toast to the future on New Year’s Eve.”
Feinstein's, which opened in 1999, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz, including Rosemary Clooney, Steve Tyrell, Barbara Cook, Glen Campbell, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming amongst hundreds of other performers. Feinstein appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year and had previously said that "Feinstein's at Loews Regency is the perfect place to hear the greatest and most exciting interpreters of American popular song. I'm proud to call it my home."
Feinstein was also a part owner of the now-closed Speakeasy Supper Club in Chicago. In 2008, he opened his own London venue, Feinstein's at the Shaw.
Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.
More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” A new PBS concert special, The Sinatra Legacy, is currently airing across the country; The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, its companion CD, was released on October 25. Last year’s PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook – in which he uncovers treasures of classic American music – is now available on DVD, with an additional disc of bonus features. The series, the recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Television Broadcast Award, will return with six primetime episodes starting in February 2012.
Recently, he released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. His latest recording, We Dreamed These Days, features the Carmel Symphony Orchestra; Feinstein co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.
Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The Center is home to an annual international arts festival, diverse live programming, and the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative Archive and Museum displaying rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Starting in 2010, he serves as the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Feinstein is working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. His friendship with Nancy Reagan and concern for those suffering with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s inspired the restoration of a 1911 Steinway piano that prominently displays the hand-written signatures of several former First Ladies; Feinstein first played the restored piano in the Ronald Reagan Library to commemorate the former president’s centennial birthday on February 6, 2011.
In 2005, Feinstein recorded Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. The previous year, he completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their album Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb. The disc was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.
In 2003, Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for his release Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.
Michael’s own record label, Feinery, a Concord Records subsidiary, released The Livingston & Evans Songbook, featuring Feinstein and special guest Melissa Manchester. Feinery also records favorite current artists and restores recordings and musical broadcasts from the golden age of popular song.
The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
Photo credit: Zach Dobson