Review: Megan Hilty Sparkles in DIAMOND SERIES: MEGAN HILTY at Feinstein's/54 Below

The stunning show runs through Sunday, Nov. 7

By: Nov. 03, 2021

Review: Megan Hilty Sparkles in DIAMOND SERIES: MEGAN HILTY at Feinstein's/54 Below

Megan Hilty, the third performer in Feinstein's/54 Below's 2021 Diamond Series, sparkled as vibrantly as a diamond herself on Tuesday night. I mean that metaphorically, as a compliment to her performance and stage presence, but also literally, as a complement to the incredible silver-sparkly sheath dress Hilty wore during the performance. Every small movement of hers, a sequin on her dress caught the light and cast sparkles across the room, adding an aliveness to the show.

Review: Megan Hilty Sparkles in DIAMOND SERIES: MEGAN HILTY at Feinstein's/54 Below Hilty is a Tony-award nominated Broadway singing actress and TV actor who is performing through Sunday night at Feinstein's/54 Below as part of their Diamond series. The night consists of a three-course dinner (along with canapes and complimentary prosecco) followed by an hour and a half of Hilty being an absolute delight on stage. Her show was the epitome of what great cabaret is and should be: she shared intimate stories about the arts and the life of a performer, wowed us with her incredible vocals, all while the club provided us with excellent food, drink, and service. It's a night to remember, a night to cherish - and I'll be doing both for the rest of my life.

The beauty of 54 Below is that you're often sharing a table with strangers. Last night, before the show, the room was filled with the sound of gentle music and chattering, as guests talked to members of their own parties and made new friends.

All of that faded away at 8:30 p.m. on the dot as a disembodied voice announced Megan Hilty's presence. She made a show of struggling to get up the steps, which elicited laughs and, frankly, was terribly relatable. In a dress like that and high heels, I'd also be hard-pressed to get up those stairs. But if I hadn't written that fact down in my notebook (and if Hilty hadn't joked about it later in the show) I absolutely would have forgotten that moment as I later became completely enraptured by her performance.

Review: Megan Hilty Sparkles in DIAMOND SERIES: MEGAN HILTY at Feinstein's/54 Below Accompanied by a four-person band - music director Matt Cusson on piano, Brian Gallagher on guitar, Dennis Michael Keefe on bass, and Jack DeBoe on drums - Hilty enthralled the club with her stunning vocals, impeccable acting, and delightful stories between songs. When she sang "Popular" from Wicked (Hilty played Glinda on Broadway for several years) she put on a silly voice to evoke the spirit of the character whose point of view the song is from. She still sounded incredible, just...funny, as well. When Hilty later dove into a Dolly Parton medley comprised of "Backwoods Barbie" and "9 to 5," I couldn't help but notice she sounds just like a country star. She's a vocal chameleon, able to take on many a character and accent, all while retaining things like perfect pitch and ability to hit the right notes, which is I'm sure harder than us non-singers might think.

One of my favorite numbers from the night was "Alto's Lament," which, despite its name, is actually a rollickingly hilarious time that left me in stitches. But the absolute showstopper, for me at least, was "Second Hand White Baby Grand," from the show Smash on which Hilty played Ivy Lynn. The song was the perfect showcase for Hilty's beautiful voice, which shone out clear and loud like a crystal, and I found myself nearly tearing up at her execution of the heartrending lyrics.

Another time I almost cried? When Hilty spoke about her husband, Brian Gallagher (yes, the Brian Gallagher who was on guitar) and then he sang "Suddenly Seymore" with her. In that moment, I almost felt like I was witnessing a solitary moment between the couple. They made eye contact and smiled at each other throughout the song, and oh my word, love is beautiful, isn't it?

Megan Hilty is a star. She's got a brilliant stage presence, she can sing like an angel, she's straight-up hilarious. If you've got a free evening this weekend, you absolutely will want to head over to buy tickets. This can't-miss show runs through Sunday night at Feinstein's/54 Below. It is, and I'm not exaggerating even a little, a life-changing, magical experience.

Review: Megan Hilty Sparkles in DIAMOND SERIES: MEGAN HILTY at Feinstein's/54 Below

Photos by Helane Blumfield