Standard Time with Michael Feinstein – A Salute to New York City

Tonight Michael Feinstein offers a mélange of Big-Apple-centric songs going back to the turn of the century and forward to iconic standards. An instrumental intro of “Take the A Train” primes the audience with bright swing.

“On Broadway” erupts with Feinstein’s entrance. Excerpts from both “New York, New York” songs (the Bernstein/Comden and Green and the Kander and Ebb), “Another Hundred People,” “Babes On Broadway,” and “Anything Can Happen in New York,” braid through an arrangement that whooshes like ski slaloming. “We’ve tried to fit in as many notes and quotes as possible, so no one will say you didn’t sing that,” the host tells us. 

“We’ll Have Manhattan” arrives soft shoe with circling brushes. Feinstein sways on a stool. Piano strolls creating musical embroidery.  Selections that came to prominence in New York night clubs find the performer patting his thigh with restrained sophistication. As a rule, he moves very little on stage, taking his time with anything but swing, emphasizing appreciation for lyrics. “Latin From Manhattan,” with terrific percussion, elicits a little infectious footwork.

Feinstein assumes the piano with two Depression era choices to which people turned for glamour absent in their lives. “When We’re Alone”: “…from all of society, we’ll stay aloof/To live in propriety up on the roof…” with back of throat vibrato, and “Top of the Town”: “There’s nothing can top/Being up at the top of the town…” whose lyrics drift down, both exemplify. “Ev’ry Street’s a Boulevard in Old New York is hats and spats elegant. “Autumn in New York” appears tired, melancholic, lovely; “Moon River” elongated as poured molasses.

Witty Leonard Bernstein anecdotes precede a tandem “I’m So Lucky To Be Me” and “Some Other Time” (On the Town). Piano is tender, the vocalist wistful. Gershwin numbers include “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” with Astaire rather than Kelly tap tempo and a rousing “Strike Up the Band.” “I don’t need to tell you what Sondheim wrote. If I do, you’ve come to the wrong show,” the vocalist quips. Only “Broadway Baby” (Follies) strikes a false note with polished assurance rather than passion and ambition.

A packed medley takes us out with, in part, “Broadway Melody,” a tongue-in-cheek, anti-“New York New York,”, “Broadway Rhythm,”  and “Lullaby of Broadway.

Michael Feinstein delivers his tribute with familiar brio and urbanity.

Photo courtesy of Standard Time

Standard Time with Michael FeinsteinA Salute to New York City
Tedd Firth – MD/Piano
David Finck -Bass; Mark McLean-Drums

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About Alix Cohen (1726 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of ten New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, TheaterLife, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.