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BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

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Fifteen years later, the annual holiday concert is still going strong, and with good reason.

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

What is it that makes a person go back to see an annual Christmas show that has lasted for fifteen years? It's Christmas music, after all, and how many different ways can one singer find to sing "Jingle Bells"? Truly, why would there be any reason for an annual Christmas show lasting fifteen years?

Marieann Meringolo, that's why.

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below Last night this writer got to (finally!) see IN THE SPIRIT, the Marieann Meringolo holiday show, and got to see, to hear, to learn, first hand, what all the fuss is about, for IN THE SPIRIT is a marvel of musical program being led by a wonder of a woman. If you haven't seen Marieann Meringolo live before, then you just don't know, but this is one heck of an entertaining lady. For seventy-five minutes last night, the ever-so-chicly attired boss lady served her fans and followers a mixture of the holiday season from Santa to dreidels, from gifts to god, from winter weather to New Year's Eve but the theme with which Marieann led was one of gratitude and love for her fellow man, and always with that seamless blending of Meringolo vocals and Marieann humor. In fact, it can be (at times) startling to watch this entertainer turn on a dime, going from the picture of elegance in burgundy velvet to the paragon of playfulness... startling but invigorating. For this beacon of vocal prowess may stand tall as a musical storyteller, but when she gets down into the goofier aspect of her personality, she goes from zero to sixty on the adorable meter and, let's face it, adorable will win every single time, and it is a boon to Ms. Meingolo that she has so caring a director as WILL NUNZIATA, who gives her permission to be all the parts of herself, be it classy, sassy, introspective, or effusive. And silly.

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below When it comes to the music in In The Spirit, it just doesn't get any better, and although the leading factor of that excellence is a voice of such exquisite control and crystalline refinement, there is no downplaying the contribution made to the proceedings by Musical Director Doyle Newmyer's arrangements, all of which take these same, tired, old Christmas songs we've heard over and over and over again and turns them into something new and exciting that is a pleasure to listen to. It's not just nice, it's not just pretty, it is a pleasure to (not hear but) sit back and listen to these arrangements in Ms. Meringolo's storytelling wheelhouse. Throughout the night, people around the room could be heard to sigh or make exclamations like, "Wow", and shaking heads could be seen, nodding in approval, eyes closed in blissful immersion into the art being presented, particularly on a spectacular "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and a mashup of "Silent Night" and "O Holy Night" that took unsuspecting members of the audience by surprise. Jokingly remarking that she (an Italian catholic) is often mistaken for being Jewish and has no idea why (indicating a prominent proboscis), Meringolo had an entire Chanukah section to her show that yielded both hilarity ("It's Christmas and We're Jewish") and poignancy ("A Chanukah Prayer"), and a Grand Marnier-informed duet with Mr. Newmyer reminded people that, when it was written, the song "Baby It's Cold Outside" wasn't scandalous, it was flirtatious. Watching these friends, 22-years-long, sing the titillating tune (with references to his wife and her girlfriend) is proof perfect that those who find something objectionable to the composition are looking for something about which to object: this is good, provocative, grown-up holiday fun.

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below Indeed, one of the joys about Marieann's act is that it is an adult act. Many is the time that we, the audience, sit in a cabaret or club and see a show that is young: maybe the artist is new to the art form and has yet to find their artistic voice, perhaps an act is making its debut and isn't finished baking, sometimes an artist is of a generation informed by riffs and runs, rather than interpretation and skill. These are young shows. Marieann Meringolo's act is one put together by a woman who knows herself, her aesthetic, and her voice: it is sophisticated, elegant, grounded, and confident. It is listenable and pleasurable, and though the vocals soar and the volume impresses, the show is quiet and peaceful. It's a grown-up Christmas show, one particularly enhanced by Marieann's performances of "Winter in Manhattan" and brand new tunes by Anthony Nunziata ("New York on New Year's Eve") and by Jeff Franzel, Tom Kimmel and Marieann Meringolo herself ("In The Spirit"). It turns out the Lady is branching out as an artist, and she is doing so with a prodigious debut, one wildly well-accepted last night by an appreciative audience of adoring devotees, many of whom were so swept up with emotion that, at various points in the show, they were calling out praise from their seats. That praise was well-earned, warranted, and will, no doubt, be repeated one year from now, when the In The Spirit club will meet again, just for Marieann Meringolo.

The In The Spirit Band are Boots Maleson on bass, Brian Woodruff on drums and Musical Director Doyle Newmyer on piano.

Find other great shows to see at the 54 Below website HERE.

THIS is the Marieann Meringolo website.

Marieann Meringolo gets a five out of five microphones rating for performing her entire show without the use of a lyric sheet, tablet, or music stand.

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: Marieann Meringolo Displays Her Longevity With IN THE SPIRIT at Feinstein's/54 Below Photos by Stephen Mosher


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