Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Classy Holiday Concert

There have been many concerts I've wanted to attend at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, but I've always been put-off by the $40 drink minimums on top of the high ticket prices. I know this is a high-end establishment, so I don't begrudge the prices, they're just out of my range. Imagine my excitement to receive an invitation to attend the Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce Holiday Show for free. I would finally get to check out the venue and see a holiday concert (my favorite pastime at this time of year). I was also curious to to see Feinstein perform for the first time (Hyde Pierce, here making his nightclub debut, had already won me over in Spamalot and Curtains).

The word that immediately came to mind as I took my seat at Feinstein's was "swankified," a made-up work from Wicked that seems most fitting here. It's fancy and attracts an older, well-dressed crowd. It's also a very intimate venue--my table was literally up against the piano.

Accompanied by a skilled quintet, led by musical director John Oddo, the duo mixed standards with obscure numbers by well-known composers. The concert is only a holiday show because it's December, but most of the songs were not of the holiday variety, though Feinstein sang a heartfelt "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" accompanying himself on the piano. Later in the evening, Hyde Pierce mentioned that Feinstein got to sing all the Christmas songs and that he (a self-described WASP) wanted to sing a Channukah song. Since there aren't any good Channukah songs, he settled on "You Can't Succeed On Broadway" from Spamalot. Even without an assortment of Christmas tunes, the concert captured the spirit of the holidays, both the love and joy and the depression. One of my favorite jokes was when Hyde Pierce mistook the set list "holiday rundown" for the theme and said, "I thought we were doing a show on seasonal affective disorder."

The two have been friends for a long time, and this was illustrated in duets like "You're The Top." Other highlights included Feinstein's rousing rendition of "A Lot of Livin' To Do" which could teach the current cast of Bye Bye Birdie a thing or two and Hyde Pierce's moving "Your Face," an song written by John Kander for his partner.

The Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce Holiday Show is playing through Dec. 30.

Note: This is slightly related, Feinstein wrote this op-ed for The New York Times. As a Jew who looks forward to secular Christmas music and movies every year, I can relate.


Esther said...

Wish I could have gone to this. I love David Hyde Pierce. Curtains was the first musical I saw on Broadway, the night after I saw my first play, A Moon for the Misbegotten. I had a great seat - third row, center orchestra - and I loved it. I waited at the stage door and everyone in the cast was so great, but especially DHP. When I told him Curtains was my first musical and the night before I'd seen my first play, he asked what I'd seen and how I liked it. He was incredibly nice and even posed for a picture. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Accent on Youth but I hope he's back on Broadway again soon.

Linda said...

That's a really nice story. I love actors who are genuinely interested in their fans. I also loved Curtains and it's a shame it didn't last longer. I sat front row center for Curtains--they were heavily discounted because the stage was so high, but I didn't think it was obstructed at all. I love being so close to the action and the orchestra. As a side note, for Hair, which is in the same theater, front row seats are premium, I guess because of all the cast interaction.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

Yay! I'm glad you went to Feinstein's - yes, it's expensive, but the experience is unmatched. It's always my favorite room and the talent is always fabulous - this show was no exception.