Review: Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce

 Originally reviewed for

Yet another duo cabaret act from Michael Feinstein, after two terrific match-ups with Cheyenne Jackson and Christine Ebersole (the show with Jackson was so successful that it was subsequently made into a terrific studio album). The previous shows were studies in contrasts, with Feinstein playing more or less the straight man to his more flamboyant partners.

This latest act with David Hyde Pierce finds Michael in the hot seat, playing the romantic next to Pierce’s classical, restrained, hilariously deadpan persona. Pierce goes quite literally Classical with “Ill Wind,” a Mozart concerto set to ludicrous, tongue-tripping lyrics by English comedian Michael Flanders.

Immediately after, Feinstein sits down at the piano and goes into an instrumental version of Cole Porter’s “So in Love” that sounds like Romantic composer Rachmaninoff. This segues into the rip-roaring John Oddo arrangement of that song that was such a hit in the Cheyenne show (and CD). Oddo, perhaps best known as Rosemary Clooney’s music director, is also music director here, and did all of the arrangements. It bears saying from time to time that there are few things in cabaret finer than a John Oddo arrangement.

This pattern holds for most of the evening, Michael belting out showstoppers like “I Wanna Be Around” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” while David patters through stuff like his big number from Spamalot, “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway (If You Don’t Have Any Jews).” There’s one breathtaking exception, when Pierce sings the brief “Your Face” by out composer John Kander. Written in the 1960s, it tenderly describes his lover’s face as he sleeps. Pierce delivers it with such warm simplicity, that—well, if it doesn’t make you kvell, you’re just not gay.

For tickets, click here.

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