BWW Review: 54 CELEBRATES MEL BROOKS: Feinstein's/54 Below Gathered The Gags Of The Grandfather Of Comedy For A Night Of High GAG-XIETY
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T.
Pay attention, my angels. According to the great Mel Brooks, "If a man cuts his finger, that's a tragedy... If a man slips and falls down headlong into an open sewer hole and DIES! That's comedy." So said our host, the hilarious Richard Kind, on the stage at Feinstein's/54 Below on Monday night during 54 CELEBRATES Mel Brooks! This evening of musical theatre performances in tribute to the great writer, director, actor, singer, comedian, AND composer-lyricist was a diamond in F/54B's line up of career tributes. A few times each month the FAB F/54B brings together a bushel of Broadway's best, gives them a "The Music Of ___________" theme, and with the blank filled in like Brett Sommers on Match Game, off these talents go presenting a full hour and 10 minutes of singing and often clowning tributes. And speaking of clowning brings us back to Mel Brooks... On Monday, the company included the aforementioned host, Richard Kind along with Musical Director, Ben Caplan leading an impressive cast of 25ish singsters (the cast list can be read by clicking here) all doing their best before a fully packed house to "Keep It Gay" with songs by Comedy's reigning Zaydeh.
And speaking of KEEP IT GAY, Nathan Lee Graham (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Zoolander) & Michael Kushner (Moo With Me, The Dressing Room Project) kicked everything off with a rousing rendition of that PRODUCERS anthem warming up the laugh boxes of the appreciative crowd. With Kind giving commentary, trivia quizzes, facts and stories about Mel and just, in general, keeping things moving in the in-betweens, the audience was treated to established broadway staples like Tony Award® nominee Brad Oscar (The Producers, Something Rotten!) belting out the theme song to BLAZING SADDLES, the GORGEOUS Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) proving herself equal to the task of taking on a song first presented by comedy royalty, Madeline Kahn, with her exhausted Eine Sängerin rendition of I'M TIRED. With that, my pets, we were only 3 songs into this night's hit parade and the laughs just kept coming. Standouts were: Veanne Cox (An American in Paris, Caroline, Or Change) with her highly anxious HIGH ANXIETY, ladies in red Angie Schworer (The Producers, The Prom) & Lindsay Lavin (The Producers, Titanique) doing dueling Ula's with WHEN YOU GOT IT, FLAUNT IT (our personal fave pick of the night) and Tony Award® nominee Lee Roy Reams (The Producers, 42nd Street) donning a Hitler stache and singing SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER.
In all a dozen numbers that kept the laughs coming and had the audience doubled over slapping their knees and tables and winding up in total hilarious agreements about that man falling into the sewer and DYING! Mel Brooks himself would have been proud hearing his songs being given such treatment by gifted Broadway vets and up-and-comers and the night made for a Monday that ended with a BANG and for that BANG Bobby gives 54 CELEBRATES Mel Brooks! A solid 4 out of 5 rainbows. Check out the calendar at F/54B's webby and make note of the upcoming tributes as we are sure midtown's premier supper club will offer up a night to remember of one of your favorites.
Find Out All Things Feinstein's/54 Below: HERE