The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook Receives Standing Ovation after Medleys

By Amber Nore

Lied Center for Performing Arts, Michael Feinstein, June 17, 2022

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” took the stage at The Lied Center on Friday night. Due to global events, the concert had been postponed and rescheduled multiple times, so the audience was especially appreciative to be able to finally see the show for which they had been waiting.

Feinstein, dressed in a dapper suit and tie, joyfully came onstage and opened with a jazzy medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Some Enchanted Evening/Hello Young Lovers.” He was backed by a trio of piano, stand up bass, and percussion. The stage was otherwise bare, but each song was lit by a beautiful coloring of lights. Feinstein shared historical trivia about each song throughout the performance, which included classics by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Kenny Ascher, Frank Sinatra,and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Feinstein sang a variety of songs in tribute to Nebraska’s own Fred Astaire, whom he shared is his favorite performer of all time. Another nod to Nebraska was “You and Me Against the World” with lyrics by Paul Williams. Both Astaire and Williams were born in Omaha. It was a wonderful mix of top-notch entertainment with history and anecdotes.

Feinstein was in top form, with a warm and beautiful voice that effortlessly sang for two hours. My favorites were “You Belong to Me” by Jo Stafford, Cole Porter’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” and a Sinatra medley that included a rendition of “That’s Life” that was even better than the original! He received an immediate standing ovation from the crowd, and delivered a beautiful encore performance of a Cole Porter medley.

Feinstien is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood Bowl, the White House, and Buckingham Palace. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. A new PBS concert special, “The Sinatra Legacy,” is currently airing across the country. Feinstein serves as Artistic Director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. The Center is home to an annual international arts festival, diverse live programming, and the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative Archive and Museum, displaying rare memorabilia and manuscripts. He also serves as the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Feinstein’s at Loews Regency is his nightclub in Manhattan, where performers have included Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, and Alan Cumming. Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins and Carole Bayer Sager), Feinstein is truly “an all-star force in American music.”

Amber C. Nore is a singer/actress/writer who has performed locally with Angels Theatre Company, Pinewood Bowl and Lincoln Community Playhouse and nationally with Spokane Repertory Theatre and Rogue Players. She sings in the band Andy Pappas & Jukebox Gyro, the debut album “Inside Voices” is available on iTunes and Spotify. Her favorite role has been Stage Mom to her daughter, Chloe. Amber is the Community Relations Manager for Mosaic in Southeast Nebraska, a nonprofit healthcare agency that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their hopes and dreams. She lives with her cat in an art gallery in the Haymarket and loves to support local businesses/music/events with her partner, Patrick.

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