Michael Feinstein and Christine Ebersole: Good Friends
The two great stars come together for a positively effervescent and truly memorable cabaret act at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency.
To watch the normally subdued Feinstein give a wham-bang punch (and a few swivel-hips) to Charles Strouse and Lee Adams' "A Lot of Livin' to Do" -- which has been preceded by a decidedly mellow verse of "Put on a Happy Face" -- is one of the year's most memorable moments. Still, it's not more memorable than Ebersole's mesmerizing rendition of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's "The Music That Makes Me Dance." And if these two songs alone might even be worth the dear price of admission to the swanky boite, there's plenty more to savor during the 75-minute act.
Like Feinstein's act earlier this year with Cheyenne Jackson -- another seemingly unlikely if very successful pairing -- this show alternates carefully arranged duets and knockout solo numbers, with the two stars exhibiting genuine chemistry and camaraderie. Working together, the pair have great fun with the little-known Johnny Mercer-Paul Weston ditty "Conversation With Dancing"; bring true emotion to Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse's gorgeous "Two for the Road," and most of all, unwavering pathos to Jerry Herman's glorious "Kiss Her Now" and "I Don't Want to Know." (Now, Ebersole in a revival of Dear World is something Broadway producers should seriously consider! Now!)
Both performers show their softer side to great effect here: Feinstein in a touching take on Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer's classic ballad "How Little We Know" and Ebersole in a beautifully wrought version of John Wallowitch's "This Moment." But bigger can be better -- or just as good -- especially when Ebersole, whose versatility here is truly astounding -- lets it all out for the saucy Frank Loesser-Arthur Schwartz tune "Love Isn't Born" (introduced by Ann Sheridan in the film Thank Your Lucky Stars).