Marieann Meringolo’s show at Feinstein’s, You Must Believe In Spring! The Music of Michel Legrand, was dazzling and dynamic as her voice soared through numbers exclusively with music by Michel Legrand. The engagement is meant to celebrate Mr. Legrand’s 80th birthday on February 24th. Her exceptional trio sounded like a full orchestra, with arranger and musical director Doyle Newmyer at the piano, Brian Woodruff on drums and Boots Maleson on bass. Direction by Eric Michael Gillett was entertaining, with Meringolo singing from the audience for her opening number.
Marieann opened the show with “Watch What Happens,” as she walked through the audience and sang to various onlookers while she approached the stage. It was refreshing to see a performer engage so closely with the guests. She wore a lovely black satin tuxedo suit with a black sequined top underneath, and looked like perfection. The Latin rhythms of the percussion background really made the room rock, and arranger Newmyer used them for many of the songs, which really kept the set fresh. The show was ballad heavy, but Marieann’s clean and tight presentations of the songs made the program feel bright. If another performer were singing this set, it may have been boring, but Marieann never ceased to please.
She sang the gorgeous lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman in “After the Rain” and “I Was Born in Love with You.” In “After the Rain,” she sang “After the rain, it’s peaceful and warm/ Together we lay in a calm that comes after a storm….And then, lost in a kiss, I could stay for hours like this.” All eyes were fixed on Marieann as she sang of this lusty love affair. “I Was Born in Love with You” also told of a great love: “I knew the taste of your kiss before I kissed you.” Marieann’s voice is gorgeous and strong and she really wrapped herself around the lyrics and music with vigor. She seemed to really understand the longing and rapture put forth by the words of these songs, and all of the songs she sang including, “Summer Me, Winter Me” and “The Summer Knows.”
Marieann revealed in her Yentl segment of the show that Barbra Streisand is one of her favorite performers and I felt that this was evident throughout. She sang other Streisand tunes in the show such as “On My Way to You” and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” which were performed with sensitivity and style. In “On My Way to You,” a gentle ballad, Marieann seemed to breathe the song. It was as if she were the song, rather than that she was just singing it. As a tribute to the film Yentl, Meringolo performed “Where Is It Written?” and “A Piece of Sky,” as it was performed in the finale of the movie. This wondrous presentation had the audience roaring for more.
Meringolo is a talented and put-together performer who gave a very exciting and enjoyable performance. Her final show of this run will be at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency on Sunday, March 18th at 8:30 pm. For tickets and further information, call (212)339-4095.