BWW Interview: MICHAEL FEINSTEIN TO SHARE HIS GIFT OF MUSIC AT THE LAYTON AMPHITHEATRE
The Davis Arts Council has some treats in store for Utah's BroadwayWorld readers this summer, starting July 2 with the Michael Feinstein concert and later with the Broadway Princess Party on August 24, both at the Edward A. Kenley Centennial Amphitheater in Layton.
Feinstein's name is a staple in the Broadway community. A singer, pianist, conductor and author, he is probably most widely known for his contributions to the Great American Songbook, a compilation of hundreds of thousands of some of the most well-known music pieces in history, including those of Ira and George Gershwin, the former of whom he worked closely with in his early 20s.
With such a vast repertoire and musical history in his back pocket, I was curious how he chooses the songs for each show.
Feinstein said it's nearly impossible to narrow down his favorites, but some common fan requests include hits from the Gershwins, Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. In fact, he said the audience often largely determines what happens in his shows. He likes to cater each show to the crowd and the vibe he gets from the moment he walks on stage. He considers himself a musical empath, and relies on the setting and the crowd to give each show an experience unique to that specific audience.
"It's very much a collaboration between me and the audience. I share stories that help people relate to and understand these songs in a way they never have before," he said.
Feinstein clearly loves sharing music with the world. He says that music is more important now than ever, because of the way it opens our hearts and gives us hope for the world.
During his show, where he'll be accompanied by his musical director, Tedd Firth, and a fantastically talented jazz trio, you can expect a feeling of familiarity that will leave you relaxed and comfortable, but not without a little spontaneity! Not sure you'll be familiar with his set list?
"Even those who think they won't recognize these songs will be surprised by how many they know. These songs are part of our DNA," Feinstein said. Though he seems to have a little extra something in his own DNA.
Feinstein started playing the piano at age five, which he primarily taught himself by ear. He sang in piano bars and restaurants throughout his childhood. Since then, he's had his own Broadway show, conducted symphonies, performed in venues from the White House to the Sydney Opera house, opened multiple nightclubs, written books, hosted a weekly NPR broadcast and influenced millions of artists around the world. His advice for fellow music and theater enthusiasts?
"Be open to where the path takes you. Life does not always go as we planned, but if we stay open to turns in the road, it may take us to a place we never imagined. All the different expressions of my art that I've had the opportunity to share stemmed from my love of music. Find all the various creative opportunities you can, and don't limit yourself on what you think is possible," Feinstein said.
"Above all else, trust your instincts. The voice inside is always accurate. And the voice in your head, the chattering brain, is often inaccurate."
Feinstein definitely found a successful path to where he is today and said he is very much looking forward to spending an evening in Utah, which he called "idyllic."
He considers every moment he gets to sing to an audience both a gift and a responsibility to share a love of music and a message of hope.
Feinstein will be sharing his beautiful gift of music on Tuesday, July 2, beginning at 8 p.m. I encourage anyone with a love of music to join him, and experience his message of hope.
You can purchase tickets through the Davis Arts Council website.