David Hyde Pierce and Michael Feinstein
(©Rebecca Davis)
David Hyde Pierce and Michael Feinstein
(©Rebecca Davis)
Michael Feinstein may well be the smartest human being in cabaret-land. He has created duet shows with some of our brightest and best performers, such as Cheyenne Jackson and Christine Ebersole, and has thereby concocted a surefire formula for success at his namesake club, Feinstein's at Loews Regency. His latest effort, Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce, is as musically satisfying as it is hilarious.

The show has no theme -- and the two stars gleefully use this lack for a running gag. There is a madcap, slap-dash quality to the structure and content of the evening that works to the benefit of both performers, who have been good friends for 15 years and who have an easy relationship that serves them well. The fact that they keep cracking each other up with ad-libs brings an infectious sense of fun to the evening.

Feinstein's full-toned tenor meshes beautifully with Pierce's warm light baritone. Indeed, whenever they sing together in the show they sound gorgeous. And they sing together often enough so that the show never feels thrown together. They open the evening with Noel Coward's "Together With Music"; they bat the Cole Porter tune "You're the Top" back and forth with comic élan; and they end the evening with three duets in a row, including a surprise pairing of the two stars at the piano playing a scintillating "Maple Leaf Rag."

On their solo turns, Feinstein largely sticks to the serious, dramatic numbers like "What Kind of Fool Am I?" while Pierce goes for the comedy, most notably the show-stopping "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," which he originally sang in the Broadway production of Monty Python's Spamalot.

The patter in the show is perfectly handled by the duo, as well, with Feinstein providing facts and Pierce offering whimsy. For example, Pierce referred to Feinstein as Jewish and himself as a WASP and put their differences succinctly: "One is circumcised and the other is circumspect." Together, though, they make a perfect pair.