Originally reviewed for GaySocialites.com.
Michael Feinstein has recently done two duet shows with Broadway stars and it’s a big time win-win situation. Feinstein, the great archivist of “The Great American Songbook,” gets to suggest songs that he’s always wanted to hear these great artists sing. And these artists get to pick Michael’s encyclopaedic musical mind, describing an idea of the kind of song they want to sing, to which he responds with an impossibly perfect song. The audience wins both ways!
Plus, the actual Broadway stars he’s duetting with have made the actual shows very, very gay. His first duet partner was hunky out matinee idol Cheyenne Jackson, in a show that was rife with gay rights themes both subtle and explicit. Now, for the rest of this week, he is singing with arguably Broadway’s greatest female gay icon, Christine Ebersole (she’d certainly be my pick!).
For Christine, Feinstein has dug up an obscure but sexy comedy song by Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser called “Love Isn’t Born” (it’s made, you see). She’d never heard of it before, but it is indeed perfect for her and she knocks it out of the ballpark. He also suggested recently passed gay composer John Wallowitch’s ballad “This Moment,” which is indeed one of the evening’s most moving moments.
Most moving of all, however, is Michael’s own heart-on-sleeve rendition of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” He’s been truly blossoming as a singer in recent years, and this latest topper is easily the most rawly emotional performance I’ve ever seen him give, allowing him to stand proudly next to as great a singer as Ebersole.
Two the evening’s most musically stunning movements are surprising fugues of Songbook tunes, in which one of them sings a classic melody, while the other one sings another classic melody in counterpoint. Most stunning of all is their rendition of the Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” which features the two exchanging lines of that great song while the other sings tidbits of not one but nine other Gershwin songs. Dazzling.
For tickets, click here.