Photo Coverage: Michael Feinstein, Marilyn Maye, Melissa Manchester, & Jackie Evancho at Feinstein's/54 Below
Michael Feinstein "I Happen To Like New York" at Feinstein's/54 Below
The month of August saw Feinstein's/54 Below feature it's titular artist in residency from August 6th through the 23rd.
Michael Feinstein's show "I Happen To Like New York" hit all the right notes by bringing songs from both the classic American songbook and the "new" American songbook to the Manhattan nightclub scene.
Feinstein's classic songs like "Another Hundred People", "Broadway Baby", or "Anything Can Happen In New York" filled the audience with the same kind of verve and hope a new arrival to the Big Apple can feel. And his choice of new classics brought us in touch with the other, sometimes disconnected, side of living in Metropolis. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight/One Less Bell To Answer" was a stand out medley in Michael's song list and a master class in how phrasing and the right arrangement can play at an audience's heart strings leaving them breathless.
Not only was Mr. Feinstein's take on the American songbook genre crossing...it was generation crossing. Each week featured a different Grammy nominated, award winning, platinum selling guest artist to sing their songs both solo and in duet with Michael.
The first week featured the legendary (and timeless) Marilyn Maye whose standout numbers included an appropriate New York Medley inclusive of the song "I Happen To Like New York". Marilyn is the standard bearer for the Broadway song "If He Walked Into My Life". Later she and Michael brought the audience to it's feet with a "Boogie Woogie Medley".
The next week featured the NEW American songbook with singer/songwriter/hit maker Melissa Manchester who took the audience back to it's heyday with her hits "Through The Eyes Of Love", "Midnight Blue", and a soaring (and searing) "Don't Cry Out Loud". Melissa and Michael showed off their well honed chemistry and camaraderie with a fantastic version of "Whenever I Call You Friend". Ms. Manchester's voice and friendly style is as engaging and powerful as ever and her songwriting skills (as with their duet "A Better Rainbow") continue to be evocative and poignant.
Michael closed out his engagement creating a full circle moment by bringing the newest of his hit making friends to the final week. Classical cross-over artist Jackie Evancho showcased her now fully young adult style to the NYC crowd of club goers. Ms. Evancho has moved far beyond her pre-teen America's Got Talent wunderkind days. She now showcases her vocal maturity with songs like "A Million Dreams" and the most current of the new American songbook numbers - "She Used To Be Mine" from the musical Waitress. Michael and Jackie sang together on two appropriately hopeful songs with "When You Wish Upon A Star" and closing with a soaring "Somewhere".
Backed by pianist Tedd Firth, bassist Phil Palombi, and percussionist Mark McLean (with a pinch hit from Ray Marchica)...Michael Feinstein proves that the American Songbook, both classic and new, is in the most expert - and ageless - of hands.
Article & Photos: Kevin Alvey