Linda Eder and Michael Feinstein
Linda Eder and Michael Feinstein
The pairing of Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder, two superlative performers with decidedly distinctive and differing vocal styles, seems, at first blush, just a little unlikely. In fact, one can't help but wonder how his smooth, understated renditions of classics from the American Songbook could ever mesh with her vocally ferocious interpretations of more modern numbers. In point of fact, it turns that the singers work remarkably well together as is proven in the zestful Two for the Road, playing at Feinstein's at Loews Regency.

At the show's opening night performance, the two appeared a little uncertain during their opening number, a medley of Stephen Sondheim's "Old Friends" and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's "I Wanna Be Yours." Slight feedback through the sound system -- minor irritant throughout the performance -- might be one factor for their unease, but they soon settled into a genial and complementary rapport with both one another and the music.

When Feinstein and Eder offer duets, their shared passion and respect for their material overshadows any difference in their styles. Nowhere is this more apparent than with "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?," the classic from Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The performers beautifully mine the tune and lyric for its depth of emotion: he amping up his vocal stylings gently while she tempers hers to a lovely crooning tone.

Equally impressive is a medley of two songs by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, "Stormy Weather" and "When the Sun Comes Out," that comes late in the program and where both singers display their ability to wail the blues with utter abandon.

Singly, Feinstein offers up range of music -- from the debut of a new song that he's written with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, "There's You," a charming ballad that he fills with tender emotion and warm thoughtfulness to "Thirteen Women," a tune that was on the B-side of "Rock Around the Clock" from Dickie Thompson, where Feinstein displays that he has the ability to channel an inner early-1960s pop star.

For anyone hoping for old-school Feinstein, he obliges with an audience request segment and on opening night, delivered a trio of Irving Berlin standards with vocal grace as well as a showman's flair; he induced laughs with his improvised lyrics and Liberace impression for "I Love a Piano."

Eder's solos --- all selections from her most recent album dedicated to composer (and ex-husband) Frank Wildhorn -- allow her to display not only her ability to belt a song, but also her exceptional vocal control. Neither the big band bravura that she brings to "Mad Hatter" (from Wonderland) nor her splendid interpretation of the delicate but intense "Now" (written with Maury Yeston) ever overpower the intimate venue. In Eder's hands, "No Finer Man," a power ballad from Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse's Cyrano de Bergerac, the overblown anthem seems not written for a Broadway stage or concert arena, but for nightclubs worldwide.