Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below

Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below

School Is In Session, And What A Session It Was.

Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow Lovelies! Bobby Patrick, your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in cabareT to bring you ALL the Tea!

Well, my darling Bobbyfiles, Thursday night's SWING LESSONS with Melissa Errico and Billy Stritch at the FAB 54 Below was, in the jazz vernacular, a solid, syncopated sensation. This pair of nightclub royalty who have admired one another for years put together a brand new show made up of Melissa's familiar home of Broadway musicals set to Billy's jazz/swing arrangements. The lady herself said, "I have, for a long time, lived on Broadway, but I live FOR jazz." And live she did, on this night, in her beautiful, figure-hugging midnight blue sequinned evening gown, offsetting Billy's lighter royal blue sparkly jacket, all supported by Tom Hubbard, the busiest bassist in the business. Delighting the crowd from beginning to end, the trio played through a setlist of music from Sondheim to Rogers & Hart to Cole Porter and back again, with the headline duo sharing vocal duties throughout. It can't be overstated, my lambs, that between Stritch & Errico (and Hubbard, for that matter) there are multiple decades of experience on nightclub stages all over the world that they brought to 54. So, the at-home ease on stage that each possesses singularly, they shared with each other and their audience, defining the term "Nightclub Act." Bespectacled baritone Billy, with his cool-as-ice delivery and his on-fire fingers dancing o'er the keys, was the perfect companion to Melissa's delightfully frenetic energy. There is the warmth of rapport, my lambs, and there are the sparks of chemistry, and sometimes you get one or you get the other, as they are not mutually exclusive states of being. With this pair, the audience got large servings of both. It is a rare combo that only rare talents can find. Rapport requires friendship and mutual admiration. Chemistry requires... something else, something so indefinable that if you go looking for it, it will hide from you, but if it happens between performers - well that's the magic, and these two used it to bewitch the room.

Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below

With Billy doing triple duty as performer, music director, and keyboardist, the voices blended perfectly on their duets, and Melissa (announcing she got her swing lessons from Billy), opening with THE SONG IS YOU, showed that her finely trained soprano was made for jazz, right off the bat, even throwing in a cool scat break. Another superb jazz soprano moment for the lady came with the mash-up of two Julie Andrews faves, LOVERLY and FAVORITE THINGS, a real standout, as there have been many jazz arrangements of both these tunes, but Billy's medley was special. Whether watching him beating time on the stage floor with his foot during his solo, or hearing her perfect pitch on interpolated diminished chords or cool dissonant notes, the arrangement offered up loads of surprises and virtuosity. To be truthful, dear Bobby Readers, we are running out of adjectives here, and thus is the stumbling block to reviewing something so wonderful. Bobby could go on and on about what went on onstage, but I fear we are already gilding an already resplendent lily... So let's talk about the sold-out house. The crowd was not just given anReview: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below evening of fine music, funny anecdotes, and pithy dialogue, they were invited to a party. Here comes that word again - Rapport, but with a different meaning. This usage of that overused term refers to the rapport that these pros have with those who are watching them - those who have accepted that invitation to be with them on the stage and to enjoy them, as they enjoy each other. There should always be that electric exchange of energy between the actor and the audience, and Melissa Errico is the mistress of that transaction. Indeed, this is by far one of the finest reasons folks go to see her shows, to be a part of that discussion. Every number inspired abundant audience approbation (what? Bobby knows words), even to the point of prompting mid-show ovations from some tables - not to mention all the chair dancing and the audible sighs from everyone, after Billy sang the haunting Jobim, Mendonça, Gimbel ballad, MEDITATION. Finally, one of the reasons the partnership with Stritch works so well is that his earth-father demeanor, with that laid-back and jovial delivery, catches the butterfly that is Melissa, showing off her beautiful wings. Errico's boundless, fluttering energy is free to fly thanks to Billy's grounding. It is a partnership that should continue for the sake of us all. Truthfully, Bobby does not know what Errico & Stritch got paid for these SWING LESSONS, but whatever it was, it was not enough, and so we happily give this one our full...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows

HAPPY NEWS - For those not able to catch this duo's act live, the Saturday performance will be live-streamed for just $25 bucks. Get Your Tickets: HERE

For Tickets To The August 5th and 6th SWING LESSONS AT 54 Below, Get Your Tickets: HERE

All Photos By Yours Truly, Bobby Patrick

Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below


Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid Cabaret fan in NYC? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.





From This Author - Bobby Patrick

Heigh Ho Friends & “Family”! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T. I am a queer reviewer, specializing in the seedy underbelly... (read more about this author)


Review: 13 THE MUSICAL Soundtrack Represents Melodic Musical Theatre Teenage AngstReview: 13 THE MUSICAL Soundtrack Represents Melodic Musical Theatre Teenage Angst
August 13, 2022

Teenage angst and musical theater make for a very specific buying demographic.

Review: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 BelowReview: Melissa Errico & Billy Stritch Are So Cool Down In the Basement Giving Us SWING LESSONS At 54 Below
August 5, 2022

Truthfully, Bobby does not know what Errico & Stritch got paid for these SWING LESSONS, but whatever it was, it was not enough!

Review: T. Oliver Reid Is BOFFO At Below in THAT SUNDAY, THAT SUMMER At 54 BelowReview: T. Oliver Reid Is BOFFO At Below in THAT SUNDAY, THAT SUMMER At 54 Below
July 26, 2022

THAT SUNDAY, THAT SUMMER is well worth the price and so we give T. Oliver Reid our highest compliment when we tell you to BUY A TICKET next time he plays

Review: 2 Brothers From Other Mothers Star In JAIME LOZANO & MAURICIO MARTÍNEZ: HERMANOS Y FAMILIA At 54 BelowReview: 2 Brothers From Other Mothers Star In JAIME LOZANO & MAURICIO MARTÍNEZ: HERMANOS Y FAMILIA At 54 Below
July 21, 2022

Pimentel was giggly, pretty, and fun, and then WHAMMO - that voice. Mauricio was handsome, charming, funny & serious, and then WHAMMO as well.

Review: Did Somebody Say They Needed Some Cole? SONGBOOK SUNDAYS: ANYTHING GOES! COLE PORTER & MORE COLE PORTER At Jazz At Lincoln Center/Dizzy's ClubReview: Did Somebody Say They Needed Some Cole? SONGBOOK SUNDAYS: ANYTHING GOES! COLE PORTER & MORE COLE PORTER At Jazz At Lincoln Center/Dizzy's Club
July 19, 2022

SONGBOOK SUNDAYS will return in September with its tribute to Duke Ellington and, my little loves, take this hint from your Auntie Mayhem - don’t miss it.