54 Sings Hollywood’s Greatest Hit Songs!

Photo: Stuart Chassen

 

By Joel Benjamin

 

I have covered so many of Scott Siegel’s productions that I fear I have simply run out of superlatives to describe this Diaghilev-of-the-Cabaret world.  His recent 54 Sings Hollywood’s Greatest Hit Songs! at Feinstein’s/54 Below is another feather in his many-feathered cap, a fine program of songs from films sung by Siegel’s usual suspects.

Ron Abel, evoking many styles from rock to operetta, provided the ingenious piano accompaniment while Siegel’s historic vignettes gave each song a proper backdrop even before the singers opened their fantastic pipes.

 

Natalie Douglas is one of the few singers around who can do justice to “The Man That Got Away” (Ira Gershwin/Harold Arlen), a song that is difficult to peel away from Judy Garland.  She was more overtly passionate than Garland. Of course, Siegel stalwart Brian Charles Rooney also runs every over-the-top emotion from “Unchained Melody” (Alex North/Hy Zaret).

Both Stephen Bogardus , Stephen DeRosa and Bob Stillman were delightfully involving and straightforward in—respectively—“Count Your Blessings” (Irving Berlin), “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) and “The Way You Look Tonight” (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields), their years of stage experience giving them an air of (hard-earned) easy-going grace.

Several movie themes were given their due: “Alfie” (B. Bacharach/H. David), robustly sung in his high pop tenor by Elijah Caldwell; “To Sir, With Love” (Don Black/Marc London)—oddly a hit in the U.S.A. and not the U.K.!—rendered smoothly by Sarah Burke); “The Way We Were” (Marvin Hamlisch/Alan & Marilyn Bergman) smoothly warbled by Douglas Ladnier; and the pleasantly romantic “Two for the Road” (Henry Mancini/Leslie Bricusse) dreamily vocalized by Alex Getlin., her voice caressing the lyrics.

Luke Grooms’ “Be My Love” (Nicholas Brodzsky/Sammy Cahn) was unabashedly corny and operatic.  Almost operatic in heft was Nichole Turner’s “I Will Always Love You” (Dolly Parton) and  Jenny Lee Stern’s “My Heart Will Go On” (from Titanic– James Horner/Will Jennings).

Jill Paice completed the cast with her “It Goes Like It Goes” (David Shire/Norman Gimbel) from Norma Rae.

 

54 Sings Hollywood’s Greatest Hit Songs!(April 16, 2018)

Feinstein’s/54 Below

254 West 54thStreet (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue)

New York, NY

For reservations, call 646-476-3551or visit www.54below.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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