Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder

Two for the Road

Feisntein's at Loews Regency
New York, NY
Michael Feinstein, the boyish, sweet-voiced guy sharing the Feinstein’s cabaret stage with statuesque, big-voiced Linda Eder? It turned out to be a terrific idea: a melding of big talents and, yes, voices. They challenged each other and, not incidentally, performed a very satisfying program backed by a terrific seven-piece band. It was a program of personal favorites, seamlessly linked with unforced and witty banter.

Sondheim’s “Old Friends” was a perfect opener, which led to a sweet, rather chaste  “Teach Me Tonight” (Gene De Paul/Sammy Cahn), chock full of close harmonies.

Their solo turns included Feinstein performing his own “There’s You,” a tender ballad with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and Eder singing three songs composed by her former husband, Frank Wildhorn, all of which appear on her new CD. The songs were: “Mad Hatter” (with Jack Murphy), a jazzy, saucy take on that character from Wonderland; “Now” (with Maury Yeston), ostensibly about Adam and Eve, but really a yearning, gently longing number about love; and “No Finer Man”(with Leslie Bricusse), a paean to a noble figure, from the musical Cyrano de Bergerac.

In their duets they played off each other with obvious fondness and respect. Eder drew out Feinstein’s tougher voice and he her tender side, most evident in a soaring “Stormy Weather”/“When the Sun Comes Out” medley (Arlen/Koehler) and the Peter Allen/Carole Bayer Sager “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love,” in which they completely understood the ’70s philosophy of the lyrics.

Two highlights were Feinstein’s audience-request medley which ended with a heartbreaking rendition of Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind,” and the two of them turning the hokey Legrand/Bergmans “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” into an affecting celebration of long-lasting love.

The band, under Musical Director/pianist Billy Jay Stein, included bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Clint de Ganon, saxophonist/flutist Charles Pillow, trumpeter Jon Owens and John Fedchock on trombone.

Two for the Road continues through Oct. 29.

Joel Benjamin
Cabaret Scenes
September 10, 2011
www.cabaretscenes.org