BWW Review: CHRISTINE PEDI Brings Christmas Cheer and Laughter to FEINSTEIN'S/54 BELOW
Celebrity impressions, comedy, and political satire abound at Snow Business, Christine Pedi's Christmas show at Feinstein's/54 Below. Pedi had the crowd in stitches with her impersonations of Broadway stars from Patti LuPone to Liza Minelli.
Even though she made her career imitating legends like Carol Channing at Forbidden Broadway, Pedi is a legend in her own right. She has a wry and very specific sense of humor that diehard Broadway fans are sure to love - like "Frosty the Snowman" performed as a slow and sultry torch song in the style of Barbra Streisand, or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" a la Cher.
The theme of the night was "underdogs," because so many of the popular songs feature sadsacks, like "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer." "Christmas loves a loser," Pedi joked. She sang a trio of "underdog" songs she plucked out of obscurity, hilariously bad duds that never made it big, like "Little Clarissa, Christmas Tree."
It would be hard to pick the best comedic numbers of the night, but among my favorites was a dramatic reading of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" She yell-sung the lyrics sarcastically, putting a Broadway spin on it at points (she did "Raise a glass" as Elaine Stritch in "Ladies Who Lunch). "I can't believe those are actually the lyrics," she mused. "What they're trying to say is you know you have it good, and you should do something about it, [but] there are so many better ways to say that."
In a truly impressive number called "The Twelve Divas of Christmas," she proved that she could pick up an impersonation at literally the drop of a hat. She let audience members choose a random diva out of a bag and seamlessly went through each verse of "Twelve Days of Christmas" in that woman's style. At the end, she ran through each of them one after another, verse by verse, showing the elasticity of her style.
She's also as talented a singer as she is an impressionist, which she proved with a handful of serious numbers, including tribute songs to some of the legends we lost this year. She did a touching version of "Before the Parade Passes By," noting that Carol Channing was a big fan and supporter of Forbidden Broadway, and always found humor in Pedi's impressions of her.
Pedi was accompanied by Matthew Martin Ward on the piano and Sean Michael McCann on guitar.
If you missed her performance last Friday, there's still time to get tickets for the final show of the year on Sunday, December 29th at 9 p,m.