Entertainment » Music

Stories in NYC

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 26, 2013
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The latest release in the highly regarded, "54 BELOW" series is from the multiple Tony and Emmy award-winning actress and dancer, Bebe Neuwirth. Titled, "’Stories with Piano #4’ in NYC: Live at 54 BELOW," Neuwirth presents an engaging set of classics and standards with only the singer and her music director / accompanist, Scott Cady, entertaining the enraptured audience.

An eclectic mix of song choices make up the evening, and Neuwirth’s vocal technique is blissfully overshadowed by her innate interpretive abilities, which have solidified her pop culture status on the small screen, from her iconic role as Lilith on the sitcom, "Cheers" to her more recent television turn in the short lived, "Law & Order: Trial by Jury."

Most of Neuwirth’s set revolves around (as the title suggests) "story" songs. This arena allows her to excel, whether on Kurt Weill staples such as "Surabaya Johnny" and "The Bilbao Song" (both from Weill’s collaboration with Bertold Brecht, "Happy End") or the glorious tales written by the incomparable Tom Waits ("Shiver Me Timbers," "Invitation to the Blues." Two of the other "storied" highlights of the evening are the Kurt Weill melody (from "Love Life," with Alan Jay Lerner) of "Susan’s Dream," and the Kander and Ebb tune, "Ring Them Bells." In Broadway circles, Neuwirth is primary known as a dancer, as her Tony awards suggest for her star turns in "Sweet Charity" and "Chicago." Therefore, she sensibly selects songs that speak to her passion for the dance, including another Kander and Ebb staple, "But the World Goes Round" and the Jerry Jeff Walker classic, "Mr. Bojangles." Broadway Records continues to make bold choices in their "54 BELOW" series.

"Stories... in NYC: Live at 54 BELOW"
Bebe Neuwirth
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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