BWW TV Exclusive: Norm Lewis Celebrates the Season with A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS- Watch Highlights!
Norm Lewis finished his Feinstein's/54Below 5 night run last night, on Christmas Eve. Norm's show, NORM LEWIS WISHES YOU A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS, played to packed houses and the venue had an amazing week, with Michael Feinstein also making his debut at the newly namesaked club, doing the 7:00 P.M. shows and Norm conquering the 9:30 slot. By the way, Mr. Feinstein plays through the 30th, while Norm enjoys his Christmas Holiday and then can find him at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, on New Year's Eve with friends Patina Miller, Capathia Jenkins, Eric Bergen and Clint Holmes.
But back to Norm and his show. Yes, he is known for his stellar work on Broadway and on television, but this guy is a singer's singer and his vocal chops were on full display under the guidance of Director Richard Jay-Alexander and Musical Director Joseph Joubert, who we learned did the stunning orchestrations for the new production of THE COLOR PURPLE. The three of them must be great friends because the camaraderie shows through in the humor, the fun, the intelligence and the downright excellent musical taste displayed during this perfectly calibrated 75 minute show.
Lewis' full range of sounds and colors are excitingly used here and his commitment is unwavering as he takes us on a trip through Christmas songs, sacred selections, Broadway and Pop. The voice can be silver or velvet, soaring or heart-breakingly tender and, of course, sexy.
Some favorites would have to be "The Christmas Song," "Ave Maria" (Schubert) into a stunning "O, Holy Night" (complete with a story about singing for the Pope, earlier this year), "Alone in The World" from Mr. Magoo's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and we could go on and on. There was also a blistering selection called "Peace On Earth" displaying a social conscience of the trouble in the world. It was a "call to arms" with barely a dry eye in the house, as each of us reflected on the lyrics.
He broke our hearts remembering fellow performers, during this Holiday Season, who are no longer with us, like the legendary Laurie Beechman and this year's Broadway loss, Kyle Jean-Baptiste, singing "I Thank You For Your Love" and "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.
The show was a thrilling emotional roller-coaster and songs you've heard time and again, such as "Little Drummer Boy" were brought to new heights. On this particular night, his 2nd of the run, his special guest was the insanely talented Everett Bradley, who joined him for the song and then Norm graciously handed over the stage for Bradley to make us dizzy with something he did that defies description, while confessing to us that he is a Christmas Freak! Which turned out to be true.
Norm told us he was going offstage, while this took place, to "change into something more comfortable" and that he did. Norm had different guests for each night and told us he invited people that aren't what you might ordinarily imagine him "paired" with. Guests included Julie James from Sirius XM, cellist Nick Canellakis and his pianist Michael Brown, Pastor Bobby Lewis (his cousin) and newcomer Alicia Bagley.
I cannot imagine a more satisfying night and, hopefully, Norm Lewis will make this an annual residency. For it was a true evening's entertainment and a night to behold.
BroadwayWorld is thrilled to offer you an exclusive look at some highlights of the show. Merry Christmas, indeed.