Michael Feinstein, A Holiday to Remember - New York City Article

Michael Feinstein, A Holiday to Remember 

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Michael Feinstein, A Holiday to Remember

Published Dec 28, 2016
Updated Feb 6, 2017

By: Will Friedwald

Feinstein’s / 54 Below

254 W 54th Street, (646) 476-3551

Through Friday, December 30

With a Michael Feinstein show, the question is not whether it’s any good – all of his productions are invariably tremendously entertaining – but which part moves you the most. For this year’s holiday show at the club that bears his name, Mr. Feinstein focuses on Judy Garland, and builds meaningfully to her one holiday standard (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) as an encore. Along the way, he gives us such set-pieces as his assemblage of all the verses and choruses of “If I Only Had a Brain” – not only smart, but also full of heart and nerve. There’s also his juxtaposition of two excellent, lesser-known songs that John Meyer wrote for Garland, the exuberant “I’d Like to Hate Myself in the Morning” and the heart-breaking almost suicidal “After the Holidays.” Still, the most moving moment was a duet from beyond the grave – when Mr. Feinstein played a hitherto unknown private, a capella recording of a young Garland singing “I’ll Be Seeing You” and accompanied her on the piano. It would have given chills to all of us in the sold-out crowd, except that we had already been experiencing them up and down our spines for the previous 70 minutes.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)