A NY Evening Pt 1: Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael

Better Two-getherMonday night, a confluence of factors drew me to the Big Apple.  It felt so eventful, I’m spliting it into several posts.

It was Chicago night at The Metropolitan Room !  It started with Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael doing their show Better Together.  Friend-of-this-blog Beckie Menzie is not only Chicago’s music director of choice, but also an amazing singer and songwriter.  She and Tom Michael are a long-standing Windy City cabaret team and they have used the example of their partnership (which they describe as having a rocky beginning) as the inspiration for this evening thathighlighed the work of various partnerships such as Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Everly Brothers, and Simon and Garfunkel.

An ideal combination, both are amazingly supple, expressive, and communicative performers.  And although their CD, Better Together, is very, very good, in person they really command an audience.  Moreover, each is a terrific performer solo (and each knows how to “disappear” when the other is soloing — a more difficult skill than one might think).

Beckie Menzie is one of my favorite pianists.  I have never understood how her very dainty hands get all that sound out of the piano! 

The team’s Simon and Garfunkel medly was a pure charmer; unbelievably, they made My Favorite Things a tour de force.  And Chicago cabaret force (and fellow Cabaret Scenes reviewer) Carla Gordon wrote some terrific lyrics to You’re The Top to highlight the team’s friendship.

If I had one quibble about the show, it’s that they didn’t do any of Beckie Menzies’s original material.  She’s such a great songwriter, it’s a little frustrating to miss her doing something of her own.

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