Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye
Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye
(© Stephen Sorokoff)
"This must have been what Steve and Eydie was like," joked Michael Feinstein during his Friday show with Marilyn Maye, entitled Swingin' the Night Away, at Feinstein's at Loews Regency.

And while I never saw that legendary duo in person, I can't imagine it was more magical or uplifting than the pairing of these two veteran entertainers.

Maye, who is the personification of optimism, knows how to light up a room like no one can. Whether taking on the tricky jazz classic "Take Five," doing a brilliantly uptempo version of "On the Street Where You Live," or joining Feinstein on a well-conceived pairing of Jerry Herman's "Big Time" and "Open a New Window," she is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a wow on your lips.

Equally exciting, she has encouraged Feinstein to be the loosest I've ever seen, jamming on Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire," or doing an all-stops-out version of "Hooray for Hollywood" that was simply breathtaking.

There are serious moments, as well, and they rank among the evening's highlights: Maye's stunning rendition of the little known "Everytime" (from Best Foot Forward); Feinstein's beautiful takes on "Somewhere" and "The Way We Were"; and especially his gorgeous-as-can-be rendition of George and Ira Gershwin's "Isn't It a Pity?"

The show is, perhaps, a bit medley-heavy for my taste. Maye strings together four songs all tied by the word "Rainbow," (including "Look to the Rainbow," "Over the Rainbow," and "The Rainbow Connection") and the second half of the act features both a "Wonderful" medley, performed by the duo, and a joyful "Boogie Medley." Yet as hokey as they may sound, they do work in the hands (and voices) of these masterful entertainers.