Review: Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein just keeps getting better. He’s consistently gained new vocal strength, and for a long time now he’s been soaring and belting with the best of them. In his latest cabaret act “Showstoppers” he brings together an eclectic set centered on the timeless standards that he’s known for – of which he is arguably the greatest defender and conservator.

“Showstoppers” does include several songs that fit what we usually think of that expression – they literally stopped the show in a Broadway musical with uproarious applause. For example, “Tchaikovsky (and Other Russians)” from Lady In the Dark, which made Danny Kaye into a star. It is a devilishly difficult and complex song to sing, and Feinstein knocks it out with breathtaking confidence. He also takes on “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom – one of the biggest 11 O’clock numbers of all time – but sings it slightly relyricized so that it comes across as a passionate statement of love from a gay man. Quite moving.

He also does songs that took a circuitous route to being showstoppers, like Louis Jordan’s 1940s R&B hit “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” which eventually found its way into Five Guys Named Moe. Or the title song of Cole Porter’s Can-Can, which only became a showstopper when cabaret legend Bobby Short started singing all of the songs lyrics (which had been cut from the show) in his club act. He even extends his definition to the soft rock classic “If” by the band Bread, which he terms a “personal showstopper.”

Feinstein and company put on a really engaging show that adds chic fun to the summer season. Recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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