Michael Feinstein: Showstoppers began performances August 8. Young, who won his Tony as star of the original Jersey Boys, will join Feinstein August 23–27. Buckley, who appeared in the original casts of 1776 and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and won her Tony as the original Grizabella in Cats, will be Feinstein’s guest August 29–September 3.
Michael Feinstein: Showstoppers features songs by iconic Broadway composers and lyricists such as Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Marvin Hamlisch, along with some of the today’s younger generation of songwriters.
“The show is called Showstoppers for many reasons,” Feinstein told Playbill, “because the definition of a ‘showstopper’ is varied, and that’s one of the things I’m going to explore in the show. Looking back through theatre history, when you think of a showstopper, you may think of Ethel Merman’s opening night in Girl Crazy when she sang ‘I Got Rhythm’ and got six encores. Or Danny Kaye in Lady in the Dark when he sang ‘Tschaikowsky and stopped the show out of town.”
Feinstein said, “But there are other kinds of showstoppers. There are people who stop the show by singing an intimate ballad, like Gertrude Lawrence singing ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ with the rag doll. Another kind of showstopper is like when Adele Astaire sang ‘The Man I Love’ in Philadelphia in Lady Be Good and they had to take it out because the audience didn’t respond at all. Or there is Patti LuPone stopping the show to yell at people and take their phones. So I’ll have the humorous aspect of what a showstopper is.”
Feinstein said he plans to sing “Tschaikowsky” and “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom “because I love that piece.”
But there is one song he definitely won't be doing: “Old Piano Roll,” a Stephen Sondheim number cut from Follies. Feinstein said, “When I first played Broadway in 1988, I guess, I met Sondheim and he gave me a copy of the song ‘That Old Piano Roll.’ I ran into him at Orzo [restaurant] several weeks after we had opened in Boston before Broadway and I said, ‘I want to thank you for giving me "That Old Piano Roll," but we had to cut it. And he said ‘WHY?’ in that very sharp tone. I sort of hemmed and hawed and he said again, ‘Why?‘ And again I sort of hemmed and hawed until finally Sondheim said, ‘I just wanted to hear you phumpher around. I’ll tell you why you cut it: It doesn’t have an ending! That’s why it doesn't work!’ And I guess that's why he cut it too.”
In Feinstein’s early years he had the privilege of working as an assistant to lyricist Ira Gershwin, whom he said loved to suggest song lists for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Kitty Carlisle Hart’s concerts and albums. When a long-lost song “The Girl I Love” (not to be confused with the standard “The Man I Love”) was rediscovered in the early 1980s, he allowed Feinstein to be the first to record it. Feinstein said he’s considering restoring that to his playlist for Showstoppers.
Tickets for Michael Feinstein: Showstoppers cost $50 for side view and bar seats and $85–$95 for main dining room seats, plus a $25 food and beverage minimum. Premium seats are available starting at $120. Tickets can be ordered by clicking here, or by calling (646) 476-3551. Feinstein’s/54 Below is located at 254 West 54th Street, New York City.
Feinstein is also coming aboard Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises! Playbill Travel is now booking Broadway on the Danube River with Michael Feinstein November 3–13, 2017, also featuring Rachel Bay Jones, Julia Murney, Christopher Fitzgerald, Marc Kudisch, Christopher Sieber, Brandon Uranowitz, and Seth Rudetsky, as well as other exciting talent to be announced.
As a special treat for those on the Playbill Cruise, Feinstein said he’s working with Rudetsky on special four-hand arrangement of a Gershwin medley. “That will be something unique that I’ve never done: a four-hand duet with anybody!”
Tickets are also now on sale for Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas July 2018 cruise to Iceland, accompanied by Judy Kuhn, Christine Ebersole, Rob McClure, Jarrod Spector, and Sierra Boggess. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.