The Feinstein’s/54 Below nightclub will see more stars June 5 than at any time since its heyday as part of the fabled disco Studio 54.
The space will celebrate its fifth anniversary as a theatre-oriented nightclub with a guest list drawn from a new generation of Broadway royalty, including Laura Benanti, Charles Busch, Liz Callaway, Alice Ripley, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Marilyn Maye, Seth Sikes, and the club’s co-owner, pianist Michael Feinstein.
The club’s 5th Anniversary All-Star Celebration! will also see several performing groups including Joe Iconis and Family; Sondheim Unplugged with Phil Geoffrey Bond and Sally Mayes; The Broadway Princess Party featuring Laura Osnes, Christy Altomare, Taylor Louderman, and Benjamin Rauhala; and others guests to be announced. The performer list is subject to change.
In the years since its June 2012 opening, Feinstein’s/54 Below has presented more than 4,000 shows in a wide array of programming and musical styles. The celebration will be produced by Jennifer Ashley Tepper and Robert W. Schneider, with musical direction by Tedd Firth
Tepper, who has served as the venue’s creative and programming director since September 2013, told Playbill, “I love that I get to program solo shows by Broadway legends right alongside debut concerts by emerging artists, and that we can celebrate well-known musicals and also musicals that are underappreciated. I love getting to foster new collaborations. So many times, an actor and writer who have worked here together on a concert will end up working together on future shows and projects because of the connection they forged in our room. And the fact that we get to be a hub for the Broadway community, and a place where people can come together to support and enjoy each other—it’s the best!
Asked to describe a highlight of her tenue, Tepper said, “I was extremely proud to present Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp in their duo show, which included songs and stories about their time with Rent. I have been such an admirer of them since I was a kid, listening to the Rent album. One night, after Adam and Anthony's performance, a mother and teenage daughter approached me in the audience and told me in tears that it was the best night of their lives. They had also been playing the album on repeat. Getting to give hundreds of thousands of people a memory they'll always treasure, that also honors theatre history... priceless!”
Another time, Neil Patrick Harris was on the premises to direct his husband David Burtka’s solo show. “We were chatting about what he should order,” Tepper recalled, ”and he asked how our tequila cocktail was. I started, ‘It’s called The Mexican Gingersnap—‘ and without missing a beat, he quipped, 'Huh. That was my nickname in high school.’”
Tickets for the June 5 anniversary show cost $100–$175. Executive Chef Lynn Bound is promising a special three-course prix fixe dinner for the occasion, costing $75 per person for the 7 PM performance. Guests at the 9:30 PM performance may choose from the seasonal menu or the special $75 prix fixe dinner. The 9:30 PM performance will have a $45 food/beverage minimum. Order tickets here.
A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The evening’s guests Benanti, Callaway, Busch, Ripley, Mazzie, Danieley, and Osnes have also all been aboard as special guest performers on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are available for Playbill’s Rhine River cruise in August 2017, featuring Seth Rudetsky, Andréa Burns, Faith Prince, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Santino Fontana. Playbill Travel is now also booking Broadway on the Danube River for November 2017, with Carmen Cusack, Christopher Fitzgerald, Marc Kudisch, Julia Murney, Christopher Sieber, Brandon Uranowitz, and Rudetsky, as well as other exciting talent to be announced. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.