Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are great and now I'm widening my horizon to focus on the performers themselves who get gigs at nightclubs. Having experienced Feinstein's and Cafe Carlyle, I was off to 54 Below, located in the cellar of the original Club 54. This was a follow up to seeing Roz Ryan in "Scandalous". A night of Roz, her pianist Shelton Becton, and the band. My reaction? Move over Aretha Franklin!
This is one entertaining woman who can charm an audience with a combination of a totally outstanding voice and a great sense of humor! So what was on the bill? Roz opened with "The Best Is Yet To Come", followed by, "We're In Love", "Love Wants To Dance" and "Old Friend".
She took a break to allow us the pleasure of hearing another fabulous voice; that of Shelton Becton singing, "Where's God". You'd think he was leading a gospel choir but doing a solo! Amazing! You might just as well get both voices as this was followed by a duet of "I'm In Love Again".
Another song and another duet of "You Don't Have To Say You're Sorry" and it was back to a solo on the piano. "Music For The Birds". Boy can Shelton tickle those ivories 'til their on the floor laughing.
"All Of Me", "Yesterday" (Charles Aznavour composition...not The Beatles), a Patty Austin song, "Love Me By Name" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" lead into her ending number of "My Way". We all knew that she would come back for an encore and so did she. Hell....it was demanded! She sang, "Teach Me Tonight".
The evening was supported by many of her fellow cast members from both "Scandalous" and the former show she starred in, "Chicago".
As for the nightclub. It's low lights and a some long tables directly in front. There are tables in the back that are higher up so that no one in front is blocking your view. Tables in the sides, too. In other words, there's not a bad seat in the house.
Location is 254 West 54th Street, 866-468-7619. www.54below.com
IT'S BEEN AWHILE BUT
10 months ago