With the closing of Feinstein’s at the Regency in the wake of the hotel undergoing renovations, producer and host Scott Siegel’s late night Broadway Ballyhoo show has found a new venue, the Laurie Beechman Theater, with weekly Wednesday night 10:30 slots. A sampling last night (August 14, 2013) provided evidence that Siegel’s ability to present impressive talent continues to be sharp. An appealing group of entertainers admirably filled the bill.
One of my cabaret favorites, Carole J. Bufford, lit up the program with her customary impact, singing first the sexy “Blame It on the Summer Night” and the hot, provocative Bessie Smith number “Kitchen Man,” which came with a story. Bufford recalled hearing it sung when she was in high school, and her English teacher suggested that she ought to sing that song. (Now that’s the kind of a teacher to have.)
Bufford returned later to show her consummate skills as she powerfully delivered “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine” and “After You’ve Gone,” the second so scorching that it would make any guy think twice before walking out on Bufford. By the way, the date also happened to be Bufford’s birthday, and she was also still celebrating her recent marriage.
Siegel also thrives in showcasing relatively new talent, and attractive, spirited Jillian Louis turned out to be exceptional singing the lively “Coronet Man,” and then giving an absolutely exquisite rendition of “How Are Things in Glocca Mora?” that prompted Siegel to call it the best performance of that song he had ever heard.
Another newcomer was Michelle Cameron, who had been part of Siegel’s “Broadway’s Rising Stars” series at The Town Hall. She gave an appealing rendition of “Someone Else’s Story.”
Folksinger Christine Lavin wowed the crowd with the hilarious “Our Love Is Being Kept Alive by Artificial Means,” a riff on the use of a vibrator.
Frank Dain held the night’s male singer spot, showing his talent for giving intimate life to ballads, performing “Stranger in Paradise,” “Hello, Young Lovers” and the Cole Porter classic “Night and Day.” Veteran pianist Kathleen Landis accompanied him.
The show’s musical director and accompanist Ian Herman had a chance to take over the spotlight with his own composition, “Too Fast,” a dazzling exhibition of his piano virtuosity.
Siegel promises different stars each Wednesday. The venue is an affordable one, with a $25 music charge and a $15 food and beverage minimum. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 West 42nd Street. Reservations: 212-695-6909. Review posted August 15, 2013.