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BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below

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These Aren’t Pipes… They’re A Whole Pipe Organ!

BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below

Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow Holiday Readers! Bobby Patrick, your Tinsel Draped RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in cabareT to bring you all the T!

And that, my lambs, is how you do a FAB Christmas Cabaret. Thank you for reading and have a happy holiday... is almost all Little Bobby can think of to write about the wonderful Lisa Howard: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME Sunday night at Feinstein's/54 Below. Coming to the stage and kicking off with IT's THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, one could clearly imagine bubbles following the lady onto the stage so effervescent was her presence and bouncy was her personality and the tune. As she wrapped her second number, CHRISTMAS WRAPPING (see what we did there), Howard launched into a rant about her unqualified love of the television Christmas movie season that takes us in its grip sometime around July and refuses to let go until Groundhog day. All of the offerings from Hallmark, Netflix, Lifetime, Tubi, or ... not Tubi are basically Howard's Christmas crack and she revels in their tried and true plots... all 3 of them. Herein lies the brilliance of her show. Musing over how awesome it would be if Hallmark et, al would produce a full-on holiday musical becomes the structure on which the next hour is built held up with really hilarious underpinnings, oh and her GINORMOUS voice. Advancing effortlessly through her well-written, well-rehearsed script, the lady moved from song to song and mood to mood with only the occasional stumble that required a cue from adorable Music Director/Arranger Michael Shaieb. These were the tiny gaffs that cabaret audiences live for as they are almost always super funny and never fail to endear the performer to the crowd.

BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below

Deftly directed by Richard Jay Alexander with Shaieb at the piano and his musicians Sean McDaniel, Michael Aarons & Aiden Terry providing exceptional support, Howard walked the audience through her ideas for the story of HOLLY, an overworked big city girl who must go home to save the family Christmas tree farm. As we follow the tale of HOLLY through the cornfield that these movies spring from, Howard stops off to add in the holiday musical numbers she knows any such story really needs, especially coming from a voice like hers. Mixing in her ability to really wail with a rock/pop fusion sound to heartfelt balladeering, she moves from a soft breeze to a hurricane with pipes that seem to have no limit to their breadth. Add to that her exceptional acting of each number, regardless of whether it came from the pen of Jerry Herman, William Finn, Stephen Schwartz, or Michael Shaieb himself, Howard's extreme power under total control was as compelling to watch as it was to hear. With a vocal range reminiscent of a Betty Buckley, but with a sound all her own, Lisa Howard's singing acting or acting singing lifts each song up from the mundanity of being just another show with one Christmas song after another to a thrilling theatrical experience that was also charming and funny. Her insistence on casting Paul Rudd as HOLLY's love interest in her musical kept generating laughs, especially with her added photoshopped pictures of the two of them popping up on F54B's video screen throughout.

BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below

Highlights of the night were Shaieb's THE HOUSE WHERE I GREW UP AT CHRISTMAS, Mariah Carey's ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU (a total home run) and her encore, Stephen Schwart's MEADOWLARK - a theatre opus that she still managed to make sound Christmassy. Bobby could go on and on here, but why? You all know this is a rave. Ever since hosting that group of misfits at their annual spelling bee, Lisa Howard has built a career on our musical theatre stages that has taken her from Putnam County to the South Pacific to Priscilla's desert to Margaritaville, not to mention her side trip to the Pacific Northwest to be a Twighlight Vamp - no for real... She probably still gets checks from that movie - it is in the music where this singer lives. Her voice rings out so clearly, her words have so much meaning to her and to those listening, and even when she is playing it for laughs, juxtaposing comedy during her patter and heartfelt music on a song like Joni Mitchel's RIVER there is no way one cannot be swept away and for that, we give Lisa Howard: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME our full...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows

Keep Up With Lisa On Her Webby: HERE

Tweet Her On The Twitters: HERE

And Followe On Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE

BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Lisa Howard Brings Power, Pathos & Passion As Her Gifts For Christmas In LISA HOWARD: WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME At Feinstein's/54 Below


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